By Duncan Mackay

Sochi construction workDecember 26 - Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an urgent inspection of the facilities for the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics after Sochi was today hit by another earthquake.

Irina Gogoleva, of Russia's Emergencies Ministry, claimed no one was hurt and there was no apparent damage to the city's infrastructure after a 5.3 magnitude earthquake was reported at 0242 local time today.

"Emergencies Ministry servicemen scoured through the city districts, bridges and electrical cables, there was no damage," said Gogoleva.

But Putin demanded authorities inspect Olympic sites, particularly those under construction, to ensure there was no damage, the Interfax news agency reported.

"The President ordered the Emergencies Ministry to pay close attention to the shocks in Sochi and other cities," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax.

"He asked that special attention is paid to construction sites to make sure they suffer no damage,"

Vladimir Putin in ski gearVladimir Putin (right) has ordered an urgent review of the facilities being built in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics to ensure that they have not been damaged

An earthquake of the same magnitude affected Sochi on Sunday (December 23).

The epicentre of the latest earthquake was about 150 kilometres off Sochi in the Black Sea.

During the tremors furniture and various objects in the homes shook and slid about precariously, with residents fleeing out into the streets in panic, it was reported.

Last night, rumours of an earthquake in the city became so prevalent that Sochi officials issued a special statement urging residents "not to succumb to panic" and threatened police action against people who spread earthquake rumours.

Earlier this month, an earthquake, which measured 4.8, hit about 34 kilometres northwest of the port city of Novorossiisk, with the tremors being felt in Sochi.

In an unrelated incident, there was also an explosion at a gas pipeline that feeds a local power station shortly before the earthquake.

Gogoleva said the power plant had switched to fuel oil and the city was receiving electrical power.

She said the reason for the blast was unknown.

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