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Death toll climbs to 17 in Tibet following Nepal earthquake

DEATH toll in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has climbed to 17, after a powerful earthquake struck neighboring Nepal on Saturday, local authorities said Sunday.

A total of 53 people were injured, while about 12,000 have been evacuated, according to rescuers.

A massive 8.1-magnitude quake shook Nepal at 2:11pm (Beijing Time). The quake also strongly affected some counties in Tibet.

Some 7,000 people have been relocated in the county of Nyalam, while about 5,000 have been evacuated in the county of Gyirong. As of 7am Sunday, four people, including a Nepalese national, remain missing in Nyalam.

The quake toppled 1,191 houses, damaged roads and cut off telecommunications in the two counties, both in Xigaze, as well as in several neighboring regions.

In Xigaze, 54 temples sustained damages during the tremor, although no casualties have been reported so far.

Following strong earthquakes in Nepal, a 5.9-magnitude quake shook Dingri County of Xigaze at 5:17pm Saturday.

A 5.3-magnitude quake shook Nyalam County at 1:42am Sunday, with he epicenter monitored at 28.2 degrees north latitude and 85.9 degrees east longitude, and the focus 10 kilometers deep, the China Earthquake Networks Center said.

Rescuers are braving heavy snow and rain to reach the quake-hit area, but their efforts are hampered by severe landslides clogging the road to Nyalam County.

Chen Quanguo, Communist Party of China chief of Tibet, has ordered evacuation of people in the quake-hit regions to avoid further deaths and injuries from aftershocks and secondary disasters.

About 600 border guards are currently involved in the rescue operation in Nyalam and Gyirong. Authorities are sending tents, quilts, clothes, medicine and bottled water to the regions.


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