Beijing: Three shallow earthquakes struck northeast China, damaging thousands of houses and sending people out into the freezing cold, officials said on Saturday.
A 5.8-magnitude quake hit at 6:04 am followed by another 5.0-magnitude quake about half an hour later. They are believed to be aftershocks from yesterday`s 5.3-magnitude temblor in the region.
No casualties have been reported so far. The three quakes hit the Qian Gorlos Mongol Autonomous County and its border with Qian`an county.
Over 58,301 people have been affected by the tremors, which seriously damaged 5,302 houses, state-run Xinhua quoted local officials as saying.
Earlier reports said 15,900 people were evacuated. Authorities raced to rush relief materials to the affected people as the Met office warned that the province could be hit by heavy snow or blizzards in the next three days.
A dense fog shrouded the city with temperatures dropping to 10 degrees below zero, which complicated rescue efforts and the relocation of quake victims.
All tremors were described as shallow, occurring at a depth of eight or nine kilometres. Such quakes are usually more destructive than deep-focus quakes of the same magnitude, seismologists said.
In Chaganhua Town in Qian Gorlos, cracks were seen on a number of village houses and bricks that fell from nearby buildings littered the streets.
"I was sitting on the bed, and suddenly the house wobbled as if it had started to walk," said Li Yun, a 60-year-old villager in Chaganhua.
Many villagers were worried about the possibility of future earthquakes, as the latest quakes occurred just weeks after two quakes of similar magnitude shook the area on October 31 that left 12 people injured.