Strong earthquakes in Hong Kong unlikely: official

20:36, December 15, 2010      

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Hong Kong's geological settings are not conducive to causing strong earthquakes and the faults in its boundaries and nearby waters are not active, Secretary for Security of the Hong Kong government Ambrose Lee said on Wednesday.

Lee Wednesday told lawmakers that since 1979 a total of six felt earth tremors had occurred with epicenters within Hong Kong. Most were minor with a magnitude below 5 on the Modified Mercalli Scale.

On Nov. 19 this year, a minor earth tremor, measuring 2.8 on the Richter Scale, was recorded by the Hong Kong Observatory. The epicenter was at Deep Bay in Shenzhen, about 30 kilometers northwest of the Hong Kong Observatory.

Although the likelihood of having a serious earthquake in Hong Kong is very slim, Hong Kong's government departments have issued advice to enhance public awareness and preparedness for natural disasters, and drawn public attention to matters of concern in different emergency situations, he added.

In respect of emergency response, the city government has the Contingency Plan for Natural Disasters which sets out comprehensive emergency response arrangements in case of major natural disasters, including earthquakes, Lee said.

In the extremely unlikely event of a severe earthquake causing widespread damage to Hong Kong, the Security Bureau will immediately activate the Emergency Response System and the Contingency Plan for Natural Disasters.

The Emergency Monitoring and Support Center will work closely with the command and co-ordination centers of the emergency services and support agencies.

"The current Emergency Response System and the Emergency Monitoring and Support Center are effective in coping with different natural disasters. In handling various critical incidents and disasters (including those arising from natural disasters) previously, the system and the center worked very well, " Lee said.

Source: Xinhua
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