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Over 50 injured in rare 5.4-magnitude earthquake in southeastern Korea

Society 16.11.2017 | 09:10

POHANG, 16 November (BelTA - Yonhap) - More than 50 people were reportedly injured in in rare 5.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the southeastern city of Pohang on Wednesday afternoon, damaging buildings, breaking windows and sending people running from homes.

Tremors were felt as far as Seoul hundreds of kilometers away. Some 30 buildings in the city were partially damaged and more than 1,300 people evacuated their homes.

The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said the quake was centered in an area some 9 kilometers north of the industrial city on the southeastern coast with a shallow depth of 9 kilometers. It occurred at around 2:29 p.m. after two foreshocks. As of 10:45 p.m. 31 aftershocks with magnitudes ranging from 2.4 to 4.3 followed.

It marked the second-strongest quake since the country began to monitor seismic records in 1978, according to the weather agency. Korea's biggest magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit Gyeongju, near Pohang, last year.

The quake was felt across the nation, including Seoul about 374 km away from Pohang, as well as the island of Jeju, sparking a flood of reports of buildings shaking, books falling from shelves and frames falling off walls.

There were dozens of distress calls from citizens locked in elevators and also blackouts in dozen other residential and business buildings.

The Ministry of Education postponed the state-run college entrance exam nationwide by a week as the quake caused fissures in some school buildings in Pohang. The education authorities will close all schools in the city Thursday and Friday.

About 100 residents of an apartment complex near the epicenter fled their homes to safer areas after the quake hit. Some were wearing only short-sleeve shirts as they hurried out on the coldest day yet this fall.

Students at a nearby elementary school were seen evacuating classrooms.

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