Devastating earthquake ravages dozens of home and leaves at least 21 injured

A powerful earthquake in eastern China tore down 126 homes and injured at least 21 people.

The earthquake struck at 2.33am local time near the city of Dezhou, located in the northwestern Shandong province.

Residents ran outdoors to escape from debris and their crumbling homes after feeling the ground shaking.

Pictures taken hours later show hundreds of bricks lying in the streets and near cracked walls.

The earthquake’s magnitude was assessed at 5.5 by the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC), while the US’ Geological Survey put it at 5.4. 

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The epicentre of the tremor was about 10km below the surface, CENC reported.

Abreu Paris, a geophysicist at the USGS’ National Earthquake Information Centre, told AP: “The closer to the surface the earthquake is, the stronger you are going to feel it.”

Gas pipes were also damaged by the quake, sparking in certain areas the interruption of gas services.

Train lines were inspected for possible damage, the official China News Service said, while Beijing Railway announced the cancellation of more than 60 trains on Sunday.

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The quake was felt as far as in certain areas of Beijing, China’s capital city, which distances some 300km north of Dezhou. However, officials said the earthquake didn’t do any damage in the capital.

This earthquake struck as other parts of China were dealing with another brutal natural phenomenon – Typhoon Doksuri.

Over the past week, northern China has been battered by the typhoon, which poured onto Beijing more than 745mm of rain between July 29 and August 2 alone. This marked the highest level of rain recorded in 140 years in the city. 

The heavy rainfall created huge damage to infrastructure and blocked roads, making it more difficult to rescue services to reach those in need.

In the Hebei province, which borders Shandong, at least 10 people have died and 18 are missing as a consequence of the torrential rain that continues to fall.

Officials evacuated around six million people by 12pm local time on Saturday from areas thought to be at high risk of landslides and floods.

China’s weather agency has issued a red alert to warn people about the “geological risks”.

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