Death toll in Inner Mongolian tremor rises to three
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An earthquake rocked the eastern part of Tibet, measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale, RFA reports. The tremor struck an area between Medog, Bomi, and Nyingchi counties, which have a scattered population of just 66,000 people.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the earthquake, whose epicenter was in a mountainous area 4,000 meters (13,200 feet) above sea level.
A spokesman for the State Seismological Bureau in Beijing predicted that damage would be slight from the tremor.
"This is an area where there are a lot of mountains and not very many people," he said. "I'd expect there are few injuries, if any. There could be none at all." Meanwhile, the number of officially reported deaths rose to three from a tremor measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale that rocked the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia on Saturday.
Rescue teams were still dealing with the aftermath of that quake, which injured more than 1,000 people and destroyed nearly 8,000 homes, causing 1.38 billion yuan (US$168 million) of damage.
"I was home when it happened," one Chifeng villager told RFA's Mandarin service. "The earth shook for--I don't know--12 or 13 seconds, I'm not sure. I was scared. The whole house was shaking. My TV set is buried under the rubble now. Relief workers have set up tents in open space for us."
Separately, a local official said all homes in the area were in danger.
"All the houses here are now in danger of collapsing. The people are having a hard time. Imagine the economic losses--first the earthquake, now bad rainy weather."
The central government in Beijing has already pledged disaster relief funding of 10.8 million yuan (U.S. $1.18 million) to the stricken area. Most of the money will go to emergency relief to quake victims, while a small proportion will be spent on disease prevention in the wake of the tremor, a Ministry of Finance official said.
China has already been rocked by a major earthquake this year. On February 24, a quake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale killed 268 people in the northwestern Uyghur region of Xinjiang.
Many in China still remember the Tangshan earthquake, which killed 240,000 people, measuring up to 8.2 on the Richter scale.