A street in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, is covered by water after a water pipe blew out during an earthquake on May 12, 2008. A major earthquake measuring 7.8 Richter Scale jolted Wenchuan County of Sichuan province at 2:28 p.m. on Monday. (Xinhua Photo)
BEIJING, May 12 (Xinhua) -- A major earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 2:28 p.m. Monday, the State Seismological Bureau (SSB) said.
The epicenter of the quake was located at 31.0 degrees north latitude and 103.4 degrees east longitude, the bureau said.
Five people, including four students in Chongqing and one person in Sichuan, were confirmed dead as of 5:20 p.m. after the earthquake toppled two school buildings and a water tower on separate occasions. At least 110 people were injured.
With a population of 111,800, Wenchuan lies in the southeast part of the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, 146 kilometers northwest of Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan.
Wenchuan is home to the Wolong Nature Reserve, China's leading research and breeding base for endangered giant pandas.
Minutes after the Sichuan quake, at 2:35 p.m., an earthquake measuring 3.9 jolted Tongzhou District in east Beijing. That quake's epicenter was 39.8 north latitude and 116.8 east longitude, according to the SSB.
A major earthquake measuring 7.8 Richter Scale jolted Wenchuan County of Southwest China's Sichuan province at 2:28 p.m. on Monday.(Xinhua Photo)
The quake was also felt in Tianjin, about an hour's drive from Beijing, according to reporters from Xinhua's branch there.
Xinhua reporters in many other parts of China also reported tremors. Reporters in Chengdu said they saw cracks on the walls of some residential buildings in the downtown area, but no building collapsed.
Telecom networks in the cities of Chengdu, Chongqing and Zhengzhou were paralyzed after the quake. People complained they were unable to complete calls on either fixed lines or cell phones.
Aftershocks were felt in Chengdu within hours after the earthquake.
Cracks were seen in the walls of some buildings. The local radio station in Chengdu quoted witnesses as saying that some houses collapsed in Dujiangyan.
A water main broke beneath a viaduct near Chengdu's southern railway station, flooding downtown Changshou Road.
As of early Monday evening, the cell phone network remained outof operation in Chengdu and Chongqing Municipality.
Xinhua reporter Hai Mingwei said his apartment was a mess, with the water pipe in the washing machine broken and water flooding the floor. "Bottles of drinks were also broken and the liquid was everywhere," he said. He and his parents escaped from their home and joined crowds of people on the street.
When the quake hit, Hai said the ground felt uneven. "For a moment I thought I was dizzy and dared not walk."
Also in Chengdu, a man surnamed Wen burst into tears after receiving a phone call that said his house had collapsed in Guanghan, Sichuan.
A retiree in Leshan City, Sichuan Province, said in a telephone interview that a wall in her garden had collapsed, while a repairman in Chongqing saw the ceiling of his factory crumble and raised the alarm among the staff, who quickly left the building.
Many parts of China, even the remote southern island province of Hainan, felt the quake. So did Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.
In Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan Province, people rushed out of homes and offices. Many said they felt dizzy and saw the ceiling light fixtures swinging back and forth.
The local government sent out text messages about the quake. Schools sent students home or gathered them in playgrounds.
The Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport and the airport expressway in Zhengzhou were closed. In Lanzhou, capital of the northwestern Gansu Province, the quake set off alarms of many parked cars by the roadside.
Xinhua reporters in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, said they felt their building rock back and forth for about four minutes.
"I could hardly stand! The land was shaking," said Chen Lan, a resident of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi Province.
A major earthquake measuring 7.8 Richter Scale jolted Wenchuan County of Southwest China's Sichuan province at 2:28 p.m. on Monday. The quake was also felt in the capital city of Beijing and Xinhua reporters in Zhengzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing also reported major tremors at around 2 p.m. Monday.(Xinhua Photo)
In Shanghai, people were evacuated from office buildings in Hongqiao and Nanjing Road.
Maowen, a neighboring county of Wenchuan, was hit by an quake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale in 1933, which claimed more than 9,000 lives. Songpan and Pingwu in the northwest of Sichuan Province were hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 in 1976.
President Hu Jintao ordered all-out efforts to help those affected by the quake. Premier Wen Jiabao was on his way to direct the rescue work.
The Chengdu Military Area Command has dispatched troops to help with disaster relief work, military sources said.
Jiang Jufeng, governor of Sichuan Province, has ordered two military helicopters to go to Wenchuan to assist the relief work.
The SSB said it would send a team of 180 people to Wenchuan, and the Sichuan provincial government also sent a work group.
The Tibet Autonomous Regional Seismological Bureau has ordered three experts to go to Wenchuan to offer help.
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