/ Agencies) - At least seven dead, a dozen wounded and more than 20 thousand
houses collapsed or with serious structural damage. This is the provisional toll from a series of
earthquakes that has struck south-west China. Government
sources report that the shocks have affected the provinces of Yunnan and
Guizhou, the main quake struck the border area between the counties of Yiliang
(Yunnan) and Weining (Guizhou) at 11 am local time. The
China Earthquake Networks Center (Cenc) reports that the telluric movement developed
at a depth of 14 km underground and registered a magnitude of 5.7.
Serious damage and casualties were reported by the Department of Civil Affairs of Yunnan Province. Currently there is no indicative estimates of the disaster in Guizhou, where the authorities have been slow to report the situation.
The main quake was also felt in the neighboring province of Sichuan, which was hit by a devastating earthquake in May 2008 that caused tens of thousands of deaths, and was followed by several aftershocks.
According to experts so far there have been at least four major shocks in the area, the biggest a magnitude of 5.7, followed by another three earthquakes 5.6, 3.2 and 4.4 respectively (the last in the series at 1:15 PM) on the Richter scale. The Civil Protection Department of China has sent teams to the affected areas to bring relief to the population and check for damage.
The first reports coming from the affected areas speak of people terrified in Shaotong, fleeing from buildings that had begun to sway from the earthquake. In a message posted on the Chinese social network, a resident of the city named Luo Shaojiang reported that he felt a strong feeling of "dizziness", while objects around him moved visibly. Even in neighboring Sichuan people clearly felt the main quake.