China: Strong quake hits Yunnan, RCSC provides emergency assistance

The Red Cross emergency relief supplies worth 500,000 yuan have been transferred to earthquake-hit areas in Yunnan province today. These materials including 150 tents, 2500 qulits, 35ton of rice and some medicine, were offered by the HQs of Chinese Red Cross (RCSC) and its Yunnan provincial branch.

According to report from local RC, an assessment team headed by vice president of Yunnan Red Cross is on en route to affected areas in the morning of June 3; and also RCSC vice president and other leaders of local branch will arrive at affected areas on June 4, to assess situation for further relief operation.

Three people have been confirmed dead, at least 300 injured after a strong earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck southwest China's Yunnan Province on Sunday.

Twenty seriously injured people had been transferred to the city's hospitals.

The quake, which affected 186,000 people in 35,000 households, also forced the evacuation of 120,000 residents, said a spokesman of the provincial civil affairs department. Many residents had moved to public areas as their houses either collapsed or were damaged.

The quake shook the old downtown area of Ning'er at 5:34 a.m., with the epicenter at 23 degrees north and 101.1 degrees east, according to the China Earthquake Administration.

The city's seismic bureau had recorded more than 300 aftershocks by 3:30 p.m. The strongest occurred at 10:49 a.m. with a magnitude of 5.1, centered at 23.02 degrees north and 101.06 degrees east.

More than 70 mobile phone signals transmission stations were severely damaged, making it difficult to make cell phone calls.

The county's power grid was also severely damaged with reduced capacity, while two mid-sized reservoirs were cracked.

Coal mines in Ning'er and surrounding areas were ordered to suspend operations with all workers evacuated from pits, said Duan Liyuan, head of the provincial work safety bureau.

The government of Pu'er City has allocated one million yuan for emergency relief. The provincial civil affairs department is sending 2,000 tents, 2,000 quilts and 2,000 items of clothes to the stricken area.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs has sent a working group to the area and allotted 5,000 tents from neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Ning'er County, covering 3,670 square kilometers, has a population of 190,000.

Pu'er City, called "Simao" before it was renamed on April 8, is prone to strong earthquakes. It has experienced 20 above a magnitude of five since 1990.

Pu'er, in the southwest of Yunnan, borders Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar and covers 45,000 square kilometers and has a population of 2.6 million.

Residents in Lincang City, about 200 kilometers from the epicenter, and Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Xishuangbanna, 300 kilometers from the center, also felt the tremor, but damage and casualty reports are not available.

Rescue officials from the China Earthquake Administration have been dispatched to help local rescue efforts.

The Yunnan government will budget 3 billion yuan for anti-earthquake project that will benefit one million poor families living in dangerous and shabby houses in 10 years. Every household can get 3,000 to 5,000 yuan of subsidies in restoring their houses.

The government sets a goal of making all rural residents' houses solid enough to resist earthquakes of 6.0 magnitude.

This year, the government invest 500 million yuan in the project covering 166,000 households in 70 counties.

During the period of 2001 to 2006, Yunnan Province recorded 27 earthquakes of at least 5 magnitude, causing 56 deaths, 2,123 injuries and nearly 3.6 billion yuan of losses.