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Strong 6.5 earthquake in China, at least five killed, dozens injured

A strong earthquake magnitude  6.5 in southwestern China on Tuesday near Jiuzhaigou or Jiuzhai Valley, a national park known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations, a region bordered by the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu, at a depth of just 5.5 miles.

The China Earthquake Networks Center measured the earthquake at magnitude 7.0.  The area is located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in northern Sichuan province, home to many Tibetan and other ethnic minority villages. Many people had run onto the streets  At least five were killed and 63 injured. All the dead are tourists, local authorities report. More than 100 aftershocks occurred. Many houses collapsed or cracked. The power was cut and phone networks were knocked out.

rocks-on-the-roads
Rocks on the roads after earthquake

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. The Sichuan provincial government’s news website said that after the quake struck, a number of train services to Chengdu and other cities were suspended. More than 600 fire officers and soldiers have been deployed in the area. Authorities organized evacuations of residents. China's National Commission for Disaster Reduction warned that the death toll could be higher. Based on a preliminary analysis of the disaster, more than 130,000 houses may be damaged. China is regularly hit by earthquakes, especially its mountainous western and southwestern regions.

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