Earthquake kills at least 240 in China

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The Independent Online

A powerful earthquake struck a remote region in western China today, killing at least 240 people, injuring more than 1,000 and collapsing houses, a disaster official said.

A powerful earthquake struck a remote region in western China today, killing at least 240 people, injuring more than 1,000 and collapsing houses, a disaster official said.

The quake of magnitude 6.8 struck an area of the Xinjiang region near China's mountainous border with Kyrgyzstan at 10.03am, according to officials.

More than 1,000 houses and school buildings collapsed in one village in Bachu, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It also said tremors were felt in Kashgar, the most populous city in the area, though it didn't give details of any damage there.

At least 10 students died when their junior high school collapsed in the county's most badly damaged town, Chongku Qiake. The quake was described as the most serious to strike Xinjiang since 1949, when China's communist government was founded.

Earthquakes are common in Xinjiang, especially in its west, which covers the eastern foothills of the soaring Pamir and Tianshan mountains of Central Asia. But they usually cause few injuries and little property damage because the area is so sparsely populated.

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