|People take shelter following an earthquake in Bac Tra My District in central Quang Nam Province. Thousands of local residents have expressed concern over frequent earthquakes in the province. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Le Lam
QUANG NAM (VNS) — Frequent earthquakes in the central province of Quang Nam's Bac Tra My District near the Song Tranh hydro-power plant have worried thousands of local people.
The latest earthquake, measuring 2.6 on the Richter scale, struck the area on Monday morning, the fifth recorded in the area since early this month, including one on Sunday.
No injuries have been reported and officials say there has been no damage to the dam.
Dinh Thi Hoa, a resident of Tra Tan commune, said she heard what sounded like a big explosion while she was sleeping on Monday.
"The floor shook and my whole family ran out of the house for fear that it might collapse," she said.
The chairman of Tra Doc commune Peoples' Committee, Ho Van Loi, said earthquakes had occurred near the hydropower plant for the past four years, but their frequency had increased in recent months.
He proposed that, to calm people, authorities send experts to the region to do more research and make clear conclusions about the cause and possible effects of the earthquakes.
Head of Bac Tra My District's Office for Agriculture and Rural Development Huynh Ngoc Thieu said local authorities were well prepared to cope with earthquakes. He said there were plenty of rescue vehicles and forces.
If necessary, people should be evacuated from dangerous areas, he added.
In response to the worries, Deputy Director of Song Tranh Hydropower Company Nguyen Van Lan said the magnitude of the earthquakes had not exceeded the limits of the reservoir's technical strength.
The plant would be secure even if quakes of more than 5.5 magnitude occurred, he said.
The company has worked with experts from the Institute of Geophysics to continue studying on the situation.
After each earthquake, the company inspected the operation of the hydropower plant's dam around the clock to ensure its safety.
They also worked with local authorities to check local households to provide "timely support if needed", he said.
Some experts believe the quakes occurred because of seismic activity caused by the pressure of water stored in the hydropower reservoir.
The quakes began in earnest after the Song Tranh 2 dam began operation at the end of 2010.
About 25 tremors were recorded near the hydropower plant from October 3 to November 16 in 2012.
The biggest quake recorded so far was an earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale two years ago. It affected 13 districts and townships in the province and damaged more than 1,000 houses and 20 public sites. — VNS