More earthquakes near major hydropower dam terrify residents

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Thousands of residents living near a notorious hydropower dam in the central province of Quang Nam were kept in a state of terror as four more earthquakes shook the area on Thursday morning, following several tremors since Monday.

The VnExpress newswire reported that the strongest of the four quakes measured 3.4 on the Richter scale. The epifocus of the quake was Phuoc Hiep Commune, which is close to the Song Tranh 2 hydropower dam.

The volley of quakes occurred when local officials and residents of Bac Tra My District were attending a ceremony to see off youth leaving town for military service.

Big underground explosions shook the area, sending thousands into panic.

Residents living closest to the Song Tranh 2 dam said they felt the tremors "very clearly."

"At 7:20 a.m. I was drinking tea and talking with some neighbors when I heard the explosions from underground and saw the floor shaking," said Tran Van Anh.

"We were terrified so we staggered out of the house like drunks."

The tremors also affected two other districts Hiep Duc and Nam Tra My. Many residents fled their homes for fear of being hit by falling tiles from the roofs.

Between Monday and Thursday, at least 12 earthquakes were recorded in the area around the dam, with the strongest registering 4.2 on the Richter scale (on Monday).

According to the Geophysics Institute, as many as 58 quakes have been recorded near the Song Tranh 2, one of the country's major dams, since 2011.

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Minor earthquakes in the area have been attributed to the dam by officials and scientists since it opened in December 2010.

In March, several area residents reported leaky cracks in the dam and worried that the leaks were related to the tremors.

The Quang Nam administration announced August 30 that the leaking problem had been completely fixed.

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