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August 29, 2009

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Earthquake rocks remote northwest

AN earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck remote Qinghai Province in northwest China yesterday, the China Earthquake Administration said.

However, no casualties have so far been reported in the wake of the quake that hit at 9:52am.

A total of 128 aftershocks had been registered by 11am near the epicenter in the Da Qaidam district in Mongolian-Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Haixi, with the strongest measuring 5.3 that struck at 10:14am, according to the Qinghai Provincial Seismological Network.

"Frequent aftershocks can still be felt here, but we have not received any reports of casualties," Li Daqing, deputy director of the Haixi Seismological Bureau, said at about 3pm in Da Qaidam Township where the Da Qaidam district administrative committee is based.

"The township is safe and sound, except for cracks in the walls of some old houses."

A coal mine in a mountain near the epicenter and about 30 old houses in its compound collapsed during the quake.

Tents sent

Landslides triggered by the quake and aftershocks blocked roads in the mine yesterday afternoon. Fortunately all miners were above ground at the time of the earthquake.

Local authorities were sending tents to provide shelter for the miners. The tents were expected late last night, a mine manager said.

The epicenter, at 37.6 degrees north and 95.8 east, was about 140 kilometers away from Delingha City, capital of the Haixi prefecture, and about 160 kilometers away from Golmud, another major city in Haixi, according to the China Earthquake Administration.

The quake was strongly felt in both cities, it said.

The local government, the China Earthquake Administration, the National Disaster Reduction Committee and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have all sent staff to the quake-hit region to direct relief work.

Da Qaidam is a sparsely populated district with an average altitude of 4,000 meters and about 16,000 people, including Mongolians, Tibetans, Muslim Hui and Han.

The district covers 34,000 square kilometers and administers three townships.


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