12 injured after quakes in NE China


There have so far been 12 reports of injuries after two earthquakes shook Songyuan city in northeast China's Jilin province on Thursday morning, local authorities said.

A 5.5-magnitude quake hit the city at 11:03 a.m. Its depth was eight km, and its epicenter was located at 44.6 deGREes north latitude and 124.2 deGREes east longitude, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

A second 5.0-magnitude quake at a depth of six km hit the same area at 11:10 a.m, and at least three aftershocks of 3 magnitude or above hit the area during the afternoon.

As of 5:30 p.m., nearly 5,000 homes had been damaged in Qian Gorlos Mongol Autonomous County and Qian'an county. Local governments are still verifying economic losses.

"I felt three quakes, and my house was shaking badly," said Ju Shufen, a villager in Chaganhua Town, the worst quake-stricken area.

"We heard sudden sounds similar to firecrackers and felt the house shaking," said villager Li Jinlong, adding that he found cracks on house walls after he ran out of his home.

Local authorities have relocated about 14,420 residents in Chaganhua Town.

The Qian Gorlos Mongol Autonomous County government said all kindergartens and schools will be closed from Thursday afternoon to Friday.

The earthquakes were felt in most parts of Jilin Province and some cities in neighboring Heilongjiang Province. So far, there have been no reports of deaths.

The quakes occurred in the Songliao Basin, near the site of a 5.0-magnitude quake that hit in March 2006, said seismologists with the Earthquake Administration of Jilin Province.

The Jilin provincial government has allotted 10 million yuan (about 1.6 million U.S. dollars) in disaster relief funds to the quake-hit region. Relief teams have also been sent there.

A shipment of 1,100 tents, 1,000 quilts and 100 folding beds has been sent to the area. Bottled water, bread and instant noodles are being given out to quake victims.

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