Earthquake in Eastern China injures at least 21

A sreenshot of a damaged farmhouse is seen near the epicenter of the earthquake in Pingyuan County in east China's Shandong province, Aug. 6, 2023. [AP hoto]

An earthquake in eastern China before dawn Sunday knocked down houses and injured at least 21 people, according to state media, but no deaths were reported.

The magnitude 5.5 quake occurred near the city of Dezhou, about 300 kilometers south of Beijing, the Chinese capital, at 2:33 a.m., according to the China Earthquake Networks Center. The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 5.4.

The quake caused 126 homes to collapse and injured 21 people, government broadcaster China Central Television and other news outlets reported.

TV broadcasters showed Dezhou residents who ran outdoors after the quake sitting on sidewalks in the predawn darkness. Video on social media showed bricks that had fallen from cracked walls.

Train lines were being inspected for possible damage, the official China News Service said. CCTV said gas service was shut off in some areas due to damage to pipes.

Dezhou and the surrounding area administered by the city have about 5.6 million people, according to the city government website.

The quake was centered about 10 kilometers below the surface, according to the CENC.

"The closer to the surface the earthquake is, the stronger you are going to feel it," said Abreu Paris, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center.

Tremors were felt in parts of Beijing, but authorities said no damage from the earthquake was found in the capital.