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Up To 100 Feared Dead, Thousands Injured In China Earthquake

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake that rattled southwest China late Tuesday may have killed up to 100 people, China’s National Commission for Disaster Reduction said.

Over 130,000 houses may be damaged, it said in a statement.

An official said strong earthquake killed at least five tourists and injured 63 people.

A man who answered the phone at a local emergency office in Aba prefecture said the town of Zhangzha reported the casualties from Tuesday evening’s quake.

The magnitude 6.5 quake struck a region bordered by the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu at a depth of just 9 kilometers (5.5 miles).

Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones.

The China Earthquake Networks Center measured the earthquake at magnitude 7.0 and said it struck at a depth of 20 kilometers.

The quake occurred at about 9:20 p.m. near Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, a national park.

The area is located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in northern Sichuan province.

Earthquakes are common in China’s west, although the low population density there often means casualties are low.

In May 2008, a magnitude 7.9 temblor with a depth of 19 kilometers (12 miles), struck Sichuan province and killed nearly 9000 people.

The epicenter in Tuesday’s quake was about 39 kilometers (24 miles) from the county of Jiuzhaigou, which has a population of around 80,000, in an area. 

A number of train services to Chengdu and other cities were suspended due to quake.

Some telephone communication networks were also down.

The China Earthquake Networks Center said the quake was followed about 20 minutes later by a temblor measuring 3.3 in magnitude at a depth of 9 kilometers.

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