Five dead as 7-magnitude natural disaster rocks China's Sichuan province

The 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit near Guangyuan

TWITTER QUAKE The 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit near Guangyuan

A powerful quake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale shook China on Tuesday evening.

The epicenter of the quake was in Ngawa prefecture, sparsely populated mostly by Tibetans, many of whom are nomadic herders, near a well known national park. Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones.

However, The China Earthquake Networks Center measured the quake at a magnitude of 7.0, with a depth of 12 miles. The official People's Daily said five of the dead were tourists.

Earthquakes are common in China's west, although the low population density there often means casualties are low.

The epicentre in Tuesday's quake was about 39 kilometres (24 miles) from the county of Jiuzhaigou, which has a population of around 80,000, in an area that is 2,000 metres (6,562ft) above sea level.

Citing a statement issued by the center, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported that the quake occurred at around 9.19 pm (Beijing time) and struck at a depth of 20 km. In 2008, almost 70,000 people were killed in a massive quake.

Yu Qian, a local taxation bureau official, said she felt strong tremor in her home on the fifth floor. "People from other regions are a pretty frightened", Wang said.

She said people had come out of their homes to sit out in the town's large public square, far from any tall structures, afraid to go back inside for fear that buildings might topple.

A tourist region in southwestern Turkey was shaken by a 5.3-magnitude natural disaster on Tuesday, the American geological institute USGS said, but local authorities did not report any victims or damage. The quake struck some 15km southeast of Bodrum, the USGS said.

Some houses at the park collapsed and many cracked, prompting the evacuation of residents by authorities.

State television said another tourist had been pulled out alive from rubble in a different part of Jiuzhaigou. Train services have been suspended in the area.

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