Earthquake strikes southwest China, killing 5 people and forcing thousands to relocate

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Digital writers

Saturday, August 31, 2013, 5:21 PM -

An earthquake hit a mountainous area of southwestern China on Saturday, killing at least five people, destroying hundreds of residences and forcing thousands of people to relocate, the government and state media said. 

The quake, which also injured 21 people, shook a wide area, including scenic Shangri-La and Deqen counties in Yunnan province, and Derong county in Sichuan province, just to the north. The China Earthquake Administration said the morning quake had a magnitude of 5.9, with the U.S. Geological Survey saying it was 5.8. 

The China Earthquake Information Center, citing Yunnan's provincial civil affairs department, said five people died and 17 were injured in Shangri-La and Deqen counties. Six of the injured were in serious condition. 

Sichuan's government said four people were injured in Derong county. 

The official Xinhua News Agency, also citing Yunnan's civil affairs department, said the quake destroyed 600 residential units and damaged 55,500 others. More than 9,000 residents were forced to relocate. 

Xinhua said telecommunications and electricity supplies were affected in Deqen and Derong, hindering rescue efforts. 

China's mountainous areas in its southwest are prone to earthquakes. In May 2008, a powerful quake in Sichuan left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing. In April this year, another quake in Sichuan killed 193 people. 

With files from The Associated Press

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