Yunnan Earthquake

Damaging Yunnan, Shangri La area (China) earthquake (August 27/28) – Many houses collapsed and/or damaged – landslides

Last update: August 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm by By

Update 13:56 UTC : New update from the assessment and rescue teams in the earthquake zone : 2 counties, 19 villages and 9176 people were affected, 56 houses collapsed, 45 houses severely damaged  and 266 houses slightly damaged.

Update 07:47 UTC : At least 36 houses in Yunnan and Sichuan collapsed, some hundreds were damaged. More than 10.000 people are affected. Rescue teams sent thousand of tents and food to the quake victims.

Update 06:36 UTC : Many houses in Yunnan and Sichuan close to the epicenter were damaged by the quake. Some of them severely, respectively nearly collapsed. Many landslides occurred in the steep valleys, which blocked and damaged roads and destroyed water pipes. Some 200 people were trapped on a road. Rockfalls in villages caused additional damage. So far, no reports about injuries, but approx. 4000 people are affected by the quake.
An aftershock with M 4.4, which occurred some hours later, caused additional damage.


The impressive Shangri La Buddhist monastery where the earthquake was also felt - image Armand Vervaeck

The impressive Shangri La Buddhist monastery where the earthquake was also felt – image Armand Vervaeck

Update 21:47 UTC : As usual, International seismological agency data are varying a lot compared with the Chinese data. We trust however the Chinese data based on our long experience with Chinese earthquakes.
We expect detailed assessment news during the UTC morning hours (currently still dark in the epicenter area)

Village of Garze in the epicenter area - Image courtesy and copyright Hatong

Village of Garze in the epicenter area – Image courtesy and copyright Hatong

Update 21:37 UTC : CEIC China reports a Magnitude of M5.1 at a shallow depth of 9 km. Based on our experience with Chinese earthquakes and our knowledge of the area, we think that this earthquake will be damaging.
The area is very mountainous and the earthquake has struck on the slopes of high hills who are bordering a deep river valley.
More to the south is Shangri-La a location know for his beautiful Monastery which is being visited by huge numbers of tourists every year.

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 23.41.52

3km (2mi) WNW of Benzilan, China
176km (109mi) NNW of Dayan, China
290km (180mi) W of Xichang, China
295km (183mi) NNW of Dali, China

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 4.9

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2013-08-28 04:44:56

GMT/UTC Time : 2013-08-27 20:44:56

Depth (Hypocenter)  : 10 km


Destructive Shallow Earthquakes — Yunnan, China

Deaths and Destruction after a series of shallow earthquakes in Yunnan, China – 64 people killed and 715 injured

Last update: September 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm by By

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 5.7 (CENC), 5.6 (CENC)
UTC Time : 03:19:42 UTC, Friday, 7th September, 2012.
Local time at epicenter : 11:19:42, Friday, 7th September, 2012.
Depth (Hypocenter) : 10km, 10km
Geo-location(s) : 1km (1mi) SW of Jiaokui, China
39km (24mi) NE of Zhaotong, China
84km (52mi) NNW of Weining, China
120km (75mi) SW of Xunchang, China

Update 14:08 UTC
– It is horrifying for us to add always more and more fatalities in our updates.  Now from 63 to 64, another family devastated by losing someone.
– The Yunnan earthquake is currently the 4th deadliest earthquake of 2012

Image courtesy and copyright ChinaNews – Click on this picture to watch more images from ChinaNews

Image courtesy and copyright

Update 13:05 UTC
The death toll has, as could be expected, further increased to 63
– 715 people are injured in various degrees
– China Prime Minister Hu Jintao gave personally high priority instructions to do whatever necessary to help the people in the disaster area
– 15 county towns have been damaged in various degrees
– It is currently dark in China and the power has not been restored in all affected areas yet
– 3961 rooms are destroyed
– 13876 rooms damaged
– 3455 livestock pens destroyed
– 11633 livestock pens damaged

Update 10:59 UTC
– A reporter who was inspecting the area saw huge landslides on both sides of the valley.
– Roads are being blocked by huge rocks.
– A boulder measuring 36 meter was blocking the river, creating a small lake
– The houses of 30 families living near a zinc mine have all been damaged
– aftershocks are following each other very fast. More landslides and rockfall is being triggered by the many aftershocks
– rescue workers have still problems to reach some areas as roads are blocked

Update 10:47 UTC
– Most of the fatalities (49 of the 50) have been reported from Yilang county
– The local seismological bureau has given 4 reasons why the death toll is higher in Yilang county
a) very high population density (205 people per sq/km vs 117 in the rest of Yunnan)
b) poorly constructed houses because of poor families and almost no industrial activity (no earthquake resistant building)
c) mountains and slopes which can trigger easily secondary effects like landslides
d) the double strong earthquakes impact. The second earthquake was shallower and closer to densely populated areas
– Experts from CEA (National Earthquake Authority) will arrive soon at the scene to help with the local authorities. National experts are only sent in after major earthquake events.
– High Voltage Power supply facilities have been severely damaged

Update 10:31 UTC
– China TV now reports that 50 people have lost their life in a double moderate earthquake, making this earthquake one of the most deadly this year. Assessment is currently done by the Chinese authorities
– Darkness will set in in a couple of hours making rescue work even more dangerous. Rescuers still have to cope with aftershocks of M3 to M4.

Image courtesy

Update 09:20 UTC
– This is the unfolding report of the Yunnan earthquake China, no more updates since our 08:31 UTC report
– More information can come in at any minute
– If you want to know more about this earthquake, please keep this page open and refresh it at regular times as we will continue following up this cruel earthquake the following hours
– is following up both official information (national and regional seismological bureaus and rescue departments, civil defense authorities as well as Chinese news media)

Update 08:31 UTC
The death toll of the double M5.6 / M5.7 earthquake has further climbed to 43 (42 in Yiliang County, 1 in Zhaoyang District).
– 700,000 people have been affected by this cruel earthquake
– 100,000 people have been relocated
– Major fires are currently going on in the damaged areas (can be seen on the latest video below)

Update 08:10 UTC
The Yunnan Provincial Civil Affairs department has just released an update :
24 dead, 150 injured.
– 100000 people evacuated/relocated
– 20000+ households with damage
– ER expects that the Economic loss estimate is coming out to $220-390 million based on the current parameters. (still waiting on a damage-based estimate).

Image courtesy CCTV

Update 07:48 UTC
– Apart from the mainshocks, a lot of aftershocks are hitting the area
– The current rainy weather is making the soil very unstable, thus triggering a lot of minor and major landslides
– The Chinese CEA authority has send a 10-man supervisory team to the area. These National teams are only flying in in major disaster cases.

Update 07:40 UTC
– Reports are also talking about severely injured people which means that the death toll will probably climb further
– The news of serious landslides also means that remotely located villages may have been hit by landslides too. Priority is mostly given to the bigger cities.
– Greatly seen in the world as small tremors proof once more to become a deadly cocktail in China. Earthquakes cannot be pinned into a Magnitude / Dangerous relation. Much more has to be accounted for.

Important update 07:33 UTC
– Various Chinese media are now reporting a death toll of at least 20 people. (has to be confirmed by the Yunnan Earthquake Bureau)

– Power has been lost in some areas as transmission poles were knocked down by landslides
– Rail traffic has been halted in the region
– 6,000 tents, 6,000 quilts and 6,000 coats are distributed to the population

Death toll has reached 7.
– In addition, 20000 households have damage of some form.

At least 6 are dead according to new reports. The M5.7 earthquake had a 14km depth, and was 15km from Yiliang county and 30 kilometers from Zhaotong City. Damage is expected in both locations.
– The earthquake was felt as far as Chengdu, hundreds of km from the epicenter

Zhaotong Prefecture is home to 5.74 million people but has a reasonably low GDP of around CNY39 billion  per year (6.2 billion USD). It is mainly agricultural in nature. The exposed capital stock according to CATDAT in terms of net capital infrastructure is around 14.2 billion USD, of which around 2.1 billion USD is in the most affected areas including Yiliang County. Hence we are looking at a damage bill in at least the 100s of millions of USD if directly impacted. The rural net capita income is about CNY2900 (around 500USD).

UPDATE:- At least 20,000 rooms (around 6,000 houses) are destroyed at first estimates, with 6000 tents being sent to the region and many other disaster supplies.

Epicenter right by the city.

UPDATE:- The dual quakes hit about 57 minutes apart, both of around M5.6, with much panic.
We are still waiting on damage reports but know that much damage has occurred. More than 150 people from disaster services have rushed to the scene.

Over 6.7 million people live within 100km of this quake. Yiliang county itself has around 500,000 inhabitants and is extremely mountainous having differences of 520m above sea level to 2800m within the county.


51 minutes after the event, 39 people were sent to the area from the Seismological Bureau.

According to Yunnan Yiliang radio and television reporter sent to CCTV’s news, a 5.6 earthquake occurred in Yunnan Yiliang, some houses have collapsed and landslides hindered transportation.

for more information and updates, go to:

Sichuan-Yunnan Border Dangerous Earthquake

Shallow earthquake on the Sichuan/Yunnan Border – 2 killed, 17 seriously, 86 slightly injured

Last update: June 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm by By

This damaging earthquake has hit on the Sichuan-Yunnan border. Both seismological bureaus are sending teams to survey the damage.

UPDATE:- 2 killed, 17 seriously injured and 86 slightly injured.

UPDATE:- A second person has been found dead in the rubble. This value may rise given the fact that communications are down within the epicentral region.

Houses have collapsed in the epicentral region.

Earthquake damage (Courtesy: China News)

The Yunnan Provincial Civil Affairs Department, Yunnan Provincial Committee for Disaster Reduction and the provincial Civil Affairs Department has launched three emergency responses, and are  transporting to the disaster area 300 tents, 500 blankets, 500 coats. At the same time, the Working Group of the provincial Civil Affairs Department is helping guide disaster relief work.

UPDATE:- The earthquake has occurred in the Ninglang-Yanyuan region.

1 person has been killed and at least 2 seriously injured and 100 people have been slightly injured. In Ninglang!

Damage is expected to be greater than 30 million dollars via historic damage estimates.

PAGER has determined from the algorithm that the earthquake will cause between 10 and 100 million dollars damage, and 0 deaths (30% chance of 1-10 deaths). The predicted intensity is VII.

The location of the Chinese Quake (Courtesy:Yunnan Seismological Bureau)

This earthquake is CATDAT RED.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : M5.7 (CEA)
UTC Time :  7:59:32, Sunday 24th June 2012
Local time at epicenter : 15:59:32, Sunday 24th June 2012
Depth (Hypocenter) : 11km
Geo-location(s) : Close to Lijiang City. At least 900,000 people live within a damaging radius.

for more information and updates, go to:

Earthquake-Yunnan, China

Dangerous moderate earthquake in Yunnan, China – at least 4 people injured

Last update: August 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm by By Armand Vervaeck and James Daniell

Typical landscape in Yunnan epicenter area – Panoramio image courtesy

Earthquake overview : Dangerous shallow earthquake in an unstable area who had a lot of misery caused by earthquakes since the end of last year. Earthquake’s epicenter is close to Shangyingxiang.

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