Powerful earthquakes hit China's Gansu province

China Featured - July 23rd, 2013
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Dozens of people were killed and hundreds more injured after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck China’s Gansu province mere hours after another powerful tremor destroyed thousands of homes.

Residents had barely recovered from a 5.9-magnitude earthquake near Dingxi city, which triggered landslides and buried homes and buildings, when the second quake hit the hilly region.

The initial earthquake had a depth of just 9.6 kilometers, which can be more destructive, according to the US Geological Survey.

Tremors were felt in the provincial capital of Lanzhou, 177 kilometers north, and as far away as Xian, 400 kilometers to the east.

The provincial earthquake bureau recorded 317 aftershocks, an official said.

Xinhua news agency said 89 people were killed and the death toll could still rise with more people reported missing.

Almost 600 people were injured in the earthquake which flattened more than 1,200 buildings. Power and telephone lines were also disrupted.

Rescue and search efforts could be hampered as heavy rain in the area is expected later in the week, stoking fears of landslides as thousands are left without homes, according to The Associated Press.

The Gansu government said they had set aside 5 million yuan ($830,000) for relief efforts, Xinhua reported.