July 22, 2006

Moderate quake in southwest China kills 18

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A moderate earthquake in China's
southwestern Yunnan province on Saturday toppled hundreds of
houses and killed at least 18 people, official Chinese media

The 5.1 magnitude earthquake, which struck a mountainous
area close to the border with Sichuan province, injured over
100 people, state television said, with national radio
reporting 51 people as seriously injured.

At least 630 houses had been destroyed and some 500 houses
risked collapsing, with direct economic losses from the tremor
estimated at more than 300 million yuan ($38 million),
according to the reports.

Many people had already left the area at the time of the
quake to attend a weekly local trade fair, state radio added.

The epicenter of the quake was about 90 km (56 miles) from
Yunnan's Zhaotong city, official Xinhua news agency said,
adding that several hundred workers had joined the rescue

Houses in Yanjin, a county on the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau
with a population of 350,000, were mostly built on land
vulnerable to earthquakes, Xinhua said, citing experts with the
seismological bureau.

The local government had restored roads and
telecommunications damaged by the quake, but failed to resume
electricity supply and train services on the Neijiang-Kunming

The railway connects the three southwestern provinces
Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan and the industrial city of

($1=7.98 Yuan)