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China quake epicentre evacuated

A Chinese county near the epicentre of a 7.9 magnitude earthquake has been ordered to evacuate amid fears that a lake may burst its banks.

Thousands fled Beichuan town in central Sichuan province on Saturday to escape possible flooding.

Soldiers carried older people to safety while survivors cradled babies on a road jammed with vehicles.

A policeman told the Associated Press news agency on Saturday that rescuers were worried that water from the lake would inundate Beichuan.

“The lake was jammed up by a landslide and may burst. That is what we are worried about,” he said without giving his name.

The official Xinhua News Agency said earlier that a lake in Beichuan county “may burst its bank at any time”.

It said 46 seriously injured people were in “dire need of help” in Beichuan, where the water level was rising rapidly.

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Thousands killed in China quake

The toll from a powerful earthquake that struck southwest China has crossed the 10,000 mark, state media said.

Buildings collapsed and telephone links in several areas snapped after the magnitude 7.5 quake struck 92km northwest of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, at 2:48 local time (0628 GMT) on Monday.

The quake was felt across a number of cities in Southeast Asia, including the Thai capital Bangkok, more than 1,800km from the epicentre in the county of Wenchuan.

The mountainous region has a population of about 100,000 people and Al Jazeera’s reporter in the area said aftershocks were continuing.

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5.4 earthquake rocks Illinois; felt 350 miles away

A 5.4 earthquake that appeared to rival the strongest recorded in the region rocked people awake up to 350 miles away early Friday, surprising residents unaccustomed to such a powerful Midwest temblor.

The quake just before 4:37 a.m. was centered 6 miles from West Salem, Ill., and 66 miles from Evansville, Ind. It was felt in such distant cities as Chicago, Cincinnati and Milwaukee, 350 miles north of the epicenter, but there were no early reports of injuries or significant damage.

“It shook our house where it woke me up,” said David Behm of Philo, 10 miles south of Champaign. “Windows were rattling, and you could hear it. The house was shaking inches. For people in central Illinois, this is a big deal. It’s not like California.”

The quake shook skyscrapers in Chicago’s Loop, 240 miles north of the epicenter, and in downtown Indianapolis, about 160 miles northeast of it. Residents of Cincinnati and St. Louis also reported feeling the earth shake.

Irvetta McMurtry of Cincinnati said she felt the rattling for up to 20 seconds.

“All of a sudden, I was awakened by this rumbling shaking,” said McMurtry, 43. “My bed is an older wood frame bed, so the bed started to creak and shake, and it was almost like somebody was taking my mattress and moving it back and forth.”

Lucas Griswold, a dispatcher in West Salem, said the Edwards County sheriff’s department received reports of minor damage and no injuries.

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