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Shallow Quake Hits Tibet, Causing Landslides, 60 Hurt

  • Associated Press

A shallow magnitude-5.5 earthquake struck the mountainous region of Tibet on Wednesday, injuring 60 people, collapsing houses and damaging bridges and roads, authorities said.

The quake struck at 9:15 a.m., 70 kilometers (44 miles) northwest of Gyamotang village at a depth of just 10 kilometers (6 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake region is near Tibet's border with Qinghai province to the north.

Serious injuries were sustained by six of the casualties, according to a statement on the website of the Dingqing county government. It gave no estimates for numbers of collapsed houses or damaged roads and bridges.

The China News Service reported that the earthquake had set off landslides.

China's official Xinhua News Agency quoted the regional seismological bureau as saying that the epicenter was in Kata Town, about 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) from the capital Beijing and the site of two major Buddhist temples.

The town's chief administrator, identified by the single name of Samba, told Xinhua he had seen two injured people on his way to help with rescue efforts in a village 10 kilometers (6 miles) away. Roads leading to Guodong village crumbled, Xinhua said, hampering rescuers.

Calls to the town, county and city authorities rang unanswered, although the Tibetan regional fire service had said in an online statement that rescuers were on their way to Kata.

The region of western China in the foothills of the Himalayas is an active earthquake zone, and a 2010 quake in nearby Yushu killed almost 3,000 people.

Nearly 90,000 people were killed in China's worst quake in recent years, a 7.9 magnitude temblor that struck Sichuan province in May 2008.