Fresh quake jolts Yunnan, SW China

2013-02-20 23:38:30 GMT2013-02-21 07:38:30(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake jolted Southwest China's Yunnan province Wednesday afternoon, damaging nearly 1,000 houses and affecting the lives of more than 5,000 local residents.

The earthquake hit Mojiang Hani autonomous county at 1:01 pm with its epicenter 5 km deep, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

People in Mojiang county said they felt the earthquake strongly. One said he saw the television set and water dispenser shaking on the second floor of his office building when the quake occurred, and he and his colleagues immediately ran out of the building.

The county's publicity authorities said the quake toppled 10 houses and damaged 880 others, affecting 5,016 people.

The earthquake came shortly after a string of tremors have hit south and southwest China over the past two days.

A 4.9-magnitude quake, which occurred at 10:46 am Tuesday with an epicenter 6 km deep, toppled 72 houses and damaged 949 others in Yunnan's Qiaojia county. Eight people were injured, including two people who are in serious condition.

Neighboring Sichuan province was also hit by two earthquakes with magnitudes of 4.5 and 4.7 on Tuesday.

In addition, a 4.1-magnitude quake hit South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region early Wednesday morning, but no casualties were reported.

On Tuesday, a seismic official with the China Earthquake Administration said China is planning to build a national earthquake monitoring and warning system in five years.

While the system would never be able to forecast an earthquake, it could detect quakes and notify people within seconds before seismic waves actually hit them, said the official who requested anonymity

The project has been filed with the country's top economic planner for approval and includes the establishment of some 5,000 stations across the country with 2 billion yuan ($320.4 million) in funds, according to the official.

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