Published on : Thursday, November 16, 2017
An earthquake measuring 5.4 magnitude on the Richter scale was South Korea’s second-strongest in decades. It’s the second-strongest quake in South Korea since the country officially began monitoring them in 1978. The temblor damaged infrastructure, injured dozens of people and left about 1,500 homeless, officials said Thursday.
As of Thursday morning, 1,536 people had been forced to evacuate their homes and 57 people were injured, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said in a statement.
No deaths have been reported since the quake rattled the southeastern coastal region around the port city of Pohang on Wednesday afternoon.
More than 1,000 houses and dozens of other buildings and cars were damaged or destroyed, and cracks and other damage were found in military facilities, bridges, port facilities and water supply facilities. Media images showed crumbled walls piled on damaged cars, broken windows and cracks in buildings.
The quake also forced the education ministry to put off the university entrance exam for one week because some buildings chosen as test venues had cracks and students in the southeastern region were displaced from their homes and complained of anxieties. The annual test administered by the government is a huge national event in South Korea, where diplomas from top colleges often guarantee better jobs and spouses.
South Korea’s state-run Korea Meteorological Administration said the epicenter of Wednesday’s quake was inside Pohang while the U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered about 9.3 kilometers (5.8 miles) northwest of the port city. The shaking was felt in Seoul, more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) away.
The biggest quake occurred in September 2016, when a 5.8 magnitude occurred near the ancient city of Gyeongju, which is close to Pohang. That quake had also caused only injuries and no deaths.