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Friday 9 December 2016

'Casualties likely' as 5.5-magnitude earthquake hits Tibet

Published 11/05/2016 | 09:19

A view over Lhasa city, the capital of Tibet. Photo: Geraldine Gittens
A view over Lhasa city, the capital of Tibet. Photo: Geraldine Gittens
The 5.5-magnitude quake struck at at 9.15am local time at a depth of six miles

An earthquake has struck the mountainous region of Tibet, with Chinese officials saying casualties are likely.

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The 5.5-magnitude quake struck at at 9.15am local time (2.15am BST) 44 miles north-west of Gyamotang village at a depth of just six miles, according to the US Geological Survey.

The quake struck near Tibet's border with Qinghai province to the north.

China's official Xinhua News Agency quoted the regional seismological bureau as saying that the epicentre was located in Kata Town, about 1,400 miles from the Chinese capital Beijing and the site of two major Buddhist temples.

The town's chief administrator, identified by the single name of Samba, told reporters he had seen two injured people on his way to help with rescue efforts in a village six miles away. Roads leading to Guodong village crumbled during the quake, hampering rescue efforts.

Calls to the town, county and city authorities went unanswered, although the Tibetan regional fire service 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 tremor which struck Sichuan province in May 2008.

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