Three killed after quakes in Yunnan, Qinghai: Chinese media

Firefighters set up temporary tents for people displaced by an overnight earthquake in Yunnan, on May 22, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP, REUTERS) - A series of strong earthquakes rattled north-west and south-west China, leaving at least two people dead, local officials and seismologists said early on Saturday (May 22).

Both Qinghai province in the north-west on the Tibetan plateau and Yunnan province in south-western China are areas prone to earthquakes. And both tremors were shallow, meaning they generally cause more damage.

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Yunnan late on Friday, killing three people with at least 27 injured, state television reported on Saturday.

The quake hit at a depth of 8 kilometres and was followed by aftershocks, CCTV reported, citing data from China Earthquake Networks Center.

CCTV quoted authorities saying the collapse of some roads along with landslides had cut some transportation lines, but electricity, telephones and internet were working.

Then a few hours later, at 1804 GMT (2.04am on Saturday, Singapore time), more than 1,200km away, a 7.3-magnitude quake jolted China's sparsely populated Qinghai province in the north-west, followed by an aftershock.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the remote area.

State news agency Xinhua said the epicentre was located in Maduo County.

Emergency personnel and disaster relief teams were sent to both sites, the agency reported.

In Yunnan, the provincial government said some buildings had collapsed and others had been damaged, and that the "disaster situation was undergoing further verification".

More than 20,000 people have been evacuated, it said. More than 100,000 people live in the area, the vast majority of them in rural communities.

Local media published videos showing ceiling lamps swinging and vases falling off shelves, as well as groups of people who had run outdoors after the quake.

Remote video URL

The China Earthquake Networks Centre warned people to "stay away from buildings" in a post on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

The quake monitor said the earthquake followed a series of smaller quakes less than an hour before.

China is regularly hit by earthquakes, especially in its mountainous western and south-western regions.

A powerful 7.9-magnitude quake in southwest Sichuan province in 2008 left 87,000 people dead or missing.

In February 2003, a powerful 6.8-magnitude quake killed 268 people in Xinjiang and caused significant damage.

In 2010, a 6.9-magnitude quake in Qinghai left 3,000 people dead or missing.

And in October 2014, hundreds of people were injured and more than 100,000 displaced after a 6.0-magnitude tremor hit Yunnan, close to China's borders with Myanmar and Laos.

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