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Thousands relocated, 1 dead in earthquake

MORE than 400,000 people are being relocated after an earthquake rocked southwest China's Yunnan Province, killing at least one person and destroying thousands of houses.

Thursday's magnitude-6 temblor, centered in Yunnan's Yao'an County, also injured 325 people, 24 seriously.

Eight aftershocks followed the quake, with the latest registering 5.2 magnitude yesterday evening.

An official at the Yao'an's disaster relief command center said late yesterday that the quakes caused at least 2.5 billion yuan (US$365.9 million) in economic losses, though rescue teams were still assessing damages.

More than 18,000 houses collapsed and 75,000 were damaged in Yao'an and five other counties, all administered by Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture.

The Civil Affairs Ministry ordered the immediate delivery of 5,000 tents and other relief material. The provincial civil affairs department had already allocated 4,000 tents, 3,000 quilts and other supplies to Yao'an.

More than 1,000 police officers and soldiers were dispatched to the disaster zone. Using simple tools and even their bare hands, the soldiers and militia rescued at least seven people, including two children.

An engineering unit consisting of 40 specialists in geological-hazard rescue has also arrived in the county, bringing professional-level equipment.

Yunnan is a quake-prone, mountainous region that lies on China's southern border with Thailand and Myanmar. It also borders Sichuan Province, where a magnitude-8 quake last year left almost 90,000 people dead or missing.


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