CHENGDU, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Five towns in Gongxian County, in the city of Yibin in southwest China's Sichuan Province, are reported to face possible geological hazards after an earthquake jolted the region at 8:48 a.m. Thursday, according to local emergency officials.
One person was slightly injured and no deaths have been reported as of 2:30 p.m. after the 5.3-magnitude quake struck at a depth of 15 km.
Experts with the Sichuan Earthquake Administration have warned of possible earthquakes between magnitudes of 4 and 5 in the region in the near future.
The quake has affected 774 villagers and damaged 691 houses of 271 families in Gongxian, prompting the relocation of 77 people, according to the county government.
The weather report predicts rain and snow in the high-altitude area of Gongxian on Thursday night and light rain in the morning from Jan. 4 to Jan. 6.
The Sichuan Earthquake Administration has sent daily necessities including food and quilts to the quake-hit area and continues to relocate villagers. A working team has been dispatched to assist with disaster relief efforts.
Major roads in the county were not affected, and telecommunications and power supply in the quake-affected region have remained undisturbed.
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, 41 aftershocks, all below 3.0-magnitude, were monitored in the region.
Residents in Gongxian reported strong tremors. Zhang Liang, a Party official in the village of Tonghe, about 20 km from the epicenter, said he felt strong shaking for around 10 seconds, and the earthquake caused cracks in some houses in the village.
Sichuan lies in an earthquake-prone part of China. The province was the site of the devastating 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, which killed more than 69,000 people and left nearly 18,000 missing.
The province has since improved its quake response system through remote sensing surveying and mapping, 3D laser scanning and unmanned aerial vehicles for disaster forecasting, relief and damage evaluation.
On Dec. 16, a magnitude-5.7 earthquake jolted the city of Yibin in Sichuan. No casualties were reported.