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Two dead as 6.3 magnitude earthquake hits China
Sunday November 23, 2014 9:57 AM, Agencies

At least two people were killed and around 54 injured when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale hit China, media reported.

China quake
[In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, locals stand outside after a quake hit Kangding County in Sichuan Province.]

The earthquake hit south-west China's Sichuan province, Xinhua reported Sunday.

The quake struck at 4:55 p.m. Saturday, with its epicenter in Tagong town, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

The dead included a woman in her 70s who was struck by a falling window pane, the official Xinhua News Agency and state broadcaster CCTV said, citing Chen Yunbing, a doctor at the region's Ganzi People's Hospital.

Six of the injured were in a critical condition, while another five had severe injuries. The remaining 43 people suffered minor injuries, according to the government.

Nineteen out of the 43 slightly injured are students of an elementary school.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-5.9 quake hit Saturday about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the town of Kangding in Sichuan province. China's seismological agency put the magnitude at 6.3.

The Sichuan provincial government information office said on its microblog Sunday that the death toll had risen to two with 54 injured.

A duty officer at the Kangding county government, who gave his surname as Xia, said the quake lasted only a few seconds, and that there had been some reports of cracks in buildings and toppled walls.

The area is frequently struck by earthquakes, and Xia said newly constructed buildings in the town of Kangding must be able to withstand those of up to 8 in magnitude, although requirements are less strict in the surrounding rural area.

Along with the two collapsed homes, Kangding's regional airport sustained some damage, though flights were not disrupted, Xinhua said.

Wang Dan, a spokeswoman for the government of Ganzi prefecture, which includes Kangding county, said rescue teams had been dispatched to the epicenter.

No major damage was reported in the town of Kangding, where CCTV video showed residents strolling the town's streets, looking up at the steep surrounding hillsides and talking on their cellphones.

Kangding and the surrounding county have a population of 129,320 people, about 70 percent of them Tibetan.

Western China is regularly hit by earthquakes, and reports said Saturday's quake could be felt in the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu on the plains below the Himalayan foothills. Sichuan was struck by a magnitude-7.9 quake in May 2008 that left nearly 90,000 people dead, many of them in collapsed schools and other poorly constructed buildings.




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