BEIJING – A series of strong earthquakes rattled northwest and southwest China, leaving at least two people dead, local officials and seismologists said.
Both Qinghai province in the northwest on the Tibetan plateau and Yunnan province in southwestern China are areas prone to earthquakes. And both tremors were shallow, meaning they generally cause more damage.
The Yunnan quake, which had a magnitude of 6.1, struck first at 9.48pm on Friday near the city of Dali, a popular tourist destination, the US Geological Survey said. It was followed by at least two aftershocks, USGS said.
Two people were confirmed dead in the mountainous area, local officials said in a statement. Later on, state news agency Xinhua said at least 22 others had been injured.
Then a few hours later, more than 1,200 kilometres away, a 7.3-magnitude quake jolted China’s sparsely populated Qinghai province in the northwest, followed by an aftershock.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the remote area. Xinhua said the epicentre was located in Maduo County, and that officials believed only “a small number of houses” would be damaged.
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.