5.5 magnitude natural disaster hits off S. Korea's southeastern coast - state media

Posted November 16, 2017

A damaged building is seen in Pohang, South Korea, on November 15, 2017.

A powerful quake struck the South Korean city of Pohang on Wednesday, with local media reporting that resulting tremors were felt hundreds of kilometres away in Seoul.

So far, there have been no reports of fatal casualties with 7 minor injury cases as of 4:32 PM KST, but it seems the natural disaster did take a toll on building exteriors, vehicles, and in some cases, indoors.

The quake, which was felt across much of the country including in the capital Seoul, struck at the shallow depth of nine kilometres near the southeastern industrial city of Pohang at around 2:30pm, the Korea Meteorological Administration said. As of 3:00 p.m. local time, four minor injuries were reported, according to the firefighting agency.

This natural disaster is the second strongest to hit South Korea, after the 5.8 quake that struck the city of Gyeongju past year, according to Yonhap news agency.

The weather service revised the magnitude from an initial 5.5 to 5.4 after a rigorous analysis.

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Sohn also cited a 7.4-magnitude natural disaster that occurred in Kumamoto, Japan, which came days after a 7.1-magnitude quake struck the area.

Some passenger cars were seen broken as external walls fell on roof.

People evacuated buildings near the epicenter as soon as the felt tremors.

Reports of shaking buildings and toppling furniture flooded in from Seoul to Jeju Island.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in was briefed on the quake on his flight to Seoul after ending a weeklong trip to Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Most of South Korea's atomic power plants are located along the southeast coastal area.