World News

China quake area hit by strong aftershocks

A grieving parent cries as she burns incense and her dead child's clothes in front of the rubble of the Beichuan Number One Middle School, located around 150 km (93 miles) north of Chengdu in Sichuan Province, June 12, 2008. REUTERS/David Gray

BEIJING (Reuters) - Two aftershocks on Friday hit the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, the site of May’s devastating earthquake, with the second felt strongly in the provincial capital Chengdu, Xinhua news agency said.

More than 69,200 people have been confirmed dead and some 18,000 are still listed as missing after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan on May 12, the deadliest in the country since 1976.

Xinhua said the second aftershock on Friday occurred at 16:32 local time (9:32 a.m. British time) and lasted for a “relatively long” time.

It was measured at 6.1 on the Richter scale and the epicentre was on the border of Pingwu and Beichuan counties, both of which were devastated by the May 12 quake.

The first aftershock struck Wenchuan county, the epicentre of the May 12 disaster, about six hours earlier and was measured at 3.9 on the Richter scale, Xinhua said, citing the local seismological department said.

At least three powerful aftershocks hit the Sichuan quake area on July 24, killing two people and injuring dozens.

The torch relay for the August 8-24 Beijing Olympics is expected to take place in Sichuan from August 3-5 and is set to draw a fresh outpouring of sympathy nationwide.

Reporting by Guo Shipeng; Editing by Nick Macfie