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South Korea Quake Leaves Scores Injured, 1,500 Homeless

South Korea Quake Leaves Scores Injured, 1,500 Homeless

Thursday, 16 November, 2017 - 08:00
A car damaged by falling bricks after a 5.4-magnitude earthquake is seen in the southeastern port city of Pohang on November 15, 2017. YONHAP / AFP

More than 50 people were injured and 1,500 left homeless when a rare 5.4-magnitude quake hit South Korea’s southeastern port of Pohang, officials said Thursday.

The second-most powerful earthquake recorded in the South hit at a shallow depth of nine kilometres on Wednesday afternoon, sparking alarm in a country that rarely experiences significant tremors.

The quake, which was felt across the country including in the capital Seoul, damaged nearly 1,100 homes and more than 100 schools, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said.

Roads and public and military facilities were also damaged, while 57 people were left injured and 1,536 seeking shelter outside their home, it said.

No deaths had been reported, the ministry added.

It came after the country's most powerful quake to date, a 5.8-magnitude tremor, struck another southeastern city in September last year.

Media images of the aftermath of Wednesday's quake showed damaged homes, broken windows, shattered storefronts, cracks in buildings and cars smashed by fallen bricks.

One video posted on social media showed dozens of students screaming and fleeing in panic as a large brick facade crumbled and fell off the top of a campus building.

As dozens of aftershocks continued to rattle Pohang, the Education Ministry announced late Wednesday the postponement of the country's all-important nationwide college entrance exam -- scheduled for Thursday -- by a week.

The Korean peninsula, unlike its neighbour Japan, rarely experiences significant quakes.

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