A rescue team consisting of 30 experts has been dispatched to the quake-hit area in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north China by the China Seismological Bureau Saturday night.
Some injuries had been reported by midnight Saturday but accurate figures were still not available by press time. A number of houses had been found collapsed in the quake-hit area, according to the bureau.
The quake, measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale, occurred at 6:58 p.m. (Beijing Time) Saturday, in an area between Bairin Zuoqi and Ar Horqin qi, east Inner Mongolia.
The epicenter was at latitude 43.9 degrees north and longitude 119.7 degrees, about 500 kilometers northeast of Beijing. Obvious tremor was felt in Beijing and parts of Hebei and Jilin provinces.
The China Seismoligical Bureau and local governments were striving to collect further information and estimating the damage, said Hu Chunfeng, deputy director of the general office of the bureau.
China is a quake-active country. Hu said that this year, earthquakes are more likely to occur than last year on the mainland.
The area around Beijing, including Hebei and Inner Mongolia, has been closely monitored by seismological authorities. More than100 million yuan were spent on improving the monitoring network in the area during 1996-2000, Hu said.
(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2003)