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5 injured in 5.3-magnitude earthquake in China’s Xinjiang
URUMQI, Jun 8 (Agencies):
Published on 8 Jun. 2011 10:37 PM IST
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A 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit a remote county in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Wednesday, causing a car pileup which left five injured. The quake jolted Toksun County of Turpan Prefecture at 9:53 a.m., according to the China Earthquake Network Center. Toksun County is about 160 km from Urumqi, the regional capital.
The quake caused several big rocks to roll down a mountain in the neighboring Dabancheng District, and onto a road forcing a driver to slam on his car brakes leading to a 17-car pileup, said Zhang Qirui, an official with the district’s road bureau. Five people were hurt in the collision, among whom two were severely injured, he said.
The epicenter was monitored at 43.0 degrees north latitude and 88.3 degrees east longitude with a depth of about 5 km, the center said. The quake was followed by two large aftershocks, measuring 4.2- and 4.1-magnitude and occurring at 9:54 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively, according to the center. A specialist with Xinjiang’s earthquake administration said further earthquakes in the region are unlikely.
“Quakes over 5-magnitude have rarely been reported in Toksun County over the past 70 years. Citizens do not need to worry,” the specialist said.
Railway services on two important routes were suspended for two hours for safety checks. Passenger and cargo trains were halted in the Urumqi-Turpan section of the Lanxin Railway, a pivotal link between Urumqi and the city of Lanzhou in northwest China’s Gansu Province, and the Turpan section of the Nanjiang Railway, which links Turpan with the city of Korla in southern Xinjiang, the Urumqi Railway Bureau said in a press release.
Service resumed at around 12:30 p.m. after safety checks were completed, it said. More than 800 students in Toksun County were taking a national college entrance exam at two local schools when the quake struck, said Gu Kejun, an official with Turpan’s education bureau. “About halfway into the test, my desk shook and I was scared. We were then told to leave,” said Xia Daiti, a student who was taking the test at Toksun County’s No. 1 Middle School.
The students were given an additional 70 to 90 minutes to finish the exam after being evacuated, Gu said.
52 killed, 32 missing
in China floods
Beijing, Jun 8 (PTI): At least 52 people were killed and 32 went missing in flash floods triggered by heavy rains in parts of China, which also forced evacuation of over a lakh people from southwestern Guizhou province.
The floods inundated vast areas in 12 provinces in central and southern China over the past week, affecting 40.8 lakh people, Shu Qingpeng, deputy head of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, told the media today. The floods, which have so far left 52 people dead and 32 missing, also destroyed 7,462 houses and submerged 255,000 hectares of farmland, incurring direct economic loss of USD 760 million, he said. Persistent downpours have also wreaked havoc in southwest China’’s Guizhou province since June 3, forcing over 100,000 people to evacuate, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Heavy rainfalls have drenched the previously parched lower and middle parts of the Yangtze River basin, increasing water to alert levels in the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan and Guizhou. Wangmo County in Qianxinan Autonomous Prefecture of Guizhou recorded maximum one-hour precipitation of 122.5 millimetres, the most in 200 years, Shu said. He asked local authorities to monitor closely the rainfall and water levels and step up prevention against floods as more downpours are expected to hit many parts of China from June 9 to 12.

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