KUNMING, April 5 (Xinhua) -- At least 25 people were injured and 21,000 relocated due to the 5.3-magnitude earthquake that struck a county in southwest China early on Saturday, authorities said.
The quake hit Yongshan County, Yunnan Province, with the epicenter 13 km deep, at 6:40 a.m. Saturday, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.
According to the county government's information office, at least 25 people were injured and 68,600 residents were affected in the earthquake as of about 5 p.m. on Saturday.
It said five of the injured are in a serious condition. Among the 2,731 damaged houses, 75 collapsed. A total of 48 schools were damaged across six towns. Electricity, transportation and communications in the area are back to normal.
The earthquake-hit area was in a mountainous region. Two roads to the epicenter had been blocked by fallen rocks, but were later reopened.
Railway authorities said the quake did not disrupt railway transportation. Trains from Kunming to cities like Chongqing and Chengdu were in normal operations.
"We felt the quake strongly, but it did not last long," said a local resident. Some were woken up by the tremor and ran out of their houses, but returned home a few minutes later.
"All five adobe houses of my family were cracked and tiles fell from the roof when the quake happened," said Sun Guiying, 58, from Bajiao Village. Sun was still seized with terror.
Authorities have sent 650 tents and 1,030 quilts for 21,000 displaced residents.
In Baisheng Village, 14 tents have already been pitched. Electricity supply is basically normal.
"We sent more than 150 staff to quake-stricken regions. Currently, the electricity in the affected areas was restored and that in tents would be provided very soon," said Wu Xuesheng, deputy general manager of the county's power supply company.
Since students were on their three-day Qingming festival, or Tomb-sweeping Day, there were no casualties from schools, according to local education authorities.
Yongshan is home to the Xiluodu hydropower project, China's second largest hydropower station, only 15 km from the epicenter. Rumors have spread that the quake was caused by the power station.
Zhang Jianguo of Yunnan Disaster Prevention Research Institute denied there is any evidence linking the quake and the power plant.
The area has a history of quakes, Zhang said, and quakes caused by reservoirs usually have quite shallow epicenters, at a depth of around 4 km, while the epicenter of Saturday's quake was 13 km deep. Study of the relationship between quakes and hydropower projects remains an important area of research.