Tens of thousands flood onto streets after quake rumor spreads in north China province

08:18, February 22, 2010      

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Tens of thousands of people in north China's Shanxi Province flooded onto the streets Saturday afternoon and stayed until Sunday morning after earthquake rumors spread in the coal-rich region recently hit by a 4.8-magnitude quake.

Major streets, parks and squares in cities like Jinzhong, Luliang, Changzhi, Yangquan and Taiyuan filled with anxious people and private cars. In rural areas, many villagers went out in the open air with their personal property, such as TVs.

The Shanxi Provincial Seismological Bureau issued an urgent statement Sunday morning, asking residents to keep calm and not to believe in the quake rumor.

"According to the quake forecast regulation, only the provincial government can release quake forecast information. Other organizations and individuals are not authorized to do so," the statement said.

The bureau is using TV, radio, Internet and text messages to clarify the situation and calm the residents.

Meanwhile, local police are investigating the incident and trying to find out the source of the rumor.

On Jan. 24, a 4.8-magnitude quake struck Yuncheng City in Shanxi.

Source: Xinhua
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