5.9 magnitude earthquake hits China

A shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 has hit southwest China close to the border with Myanmar, the US Geological Survey says.

It's he second in a week to hit the area.

The epicentre was in China's Yunnan province, 65km southeast of Myitkyina, capital of Kachin state in northern Myanmar, USGS said on Friday, adding the quake was 10km deep.

Shallow earthquakes can often cause greater damage than more powerful deep ones.

Chinese state media said the tremor hit Yingjiang county, where a 5.6 magnitude quake struck last Friday, injuring at least 13 people.

'Tremors were strongly felt in the county seat, where local residents rushed to open areas,' the official Xinhua news agency said.

'Police have been sent to the township of Kachang, which is close to the epicentre,' it added, citing local publicity officials.

Xinhua put the magnitude at 6.1, citing China's earthquake authorities.

Many people posting on Sina Weibo - China's version of Twitter - said the shaking lasted between six and eight seconds.

A picture posted online showed people in the centre of Mang, in Yingjiang county, standing in the street, with the poster saying they had run out of an eight-storey building because of the tremors.

USGS graded it as a seven on its 'Shakemap' scale, saying that shaking would have been 'very strong' and expecting 'moderate' damage.

More than 50 relief workers have been sent to the region for 'surveying, investigation and disaster evaluation', Xinhua said.

Southwest China is prone to earthquakes, lying where the Eurasian and Indian plates meet.

In May 2008, an 8.0-magnitude quake rocked the neighbouring province of Sichuan, killing tens of thousands of people and flattening swathes of the province.

In September 2012, 80 people were killed when twin earthquakes struck the mountainous border area of Yunnan and Guizhou.

The two 5.6-magnitude quakes also left some 820 people injured and 201,000 displaced.

A month later 18 children were killed when their school was buried under a landslide triggered by sustained rains in the earthquake-hit area.

In March 2011, Yingjiang county was jolted by a 5.8-magnitude quake, leaving 26 people dead and more than 300 others injured.

Yingjiang had a population of 305,200 people at the end 2010, according to official figures, of which 59.7 per cent was from 26 ethnic minority groups including Dai and Jingpo.


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