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Strong quake hits northwest China city

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BEIJING – A strong earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale struck two townships close to Delhi city in northwest China, toppling houses, seismological and local officials told AFP.

“The earthquake, of 6.6 on the Richter scale, hit just before 9am this morning (0100 GMT),” an official surnamed Yan from the State Seismic Bureau, told AFP.

“We don’t have much information yet, we don’t know about damage or casualties yet.”

Officials in Delhi city, in Qinghai province, said the epicenter was about 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) away in two townships — Hoit Taria and Da Qaidam.

“I heard that houses have collapsed around the epicenter,” said Delhi civil affairs bureau official Gou Tichong.

He said Hoit Taria had a population of 4,000. It was not immediately known how many populated Da Qiadan.

An official from the seismological bureau in Delhi said there was no immediate report of damage or casualties in the city of 57,000, around 1,700 kilometres (1,050 miles) from Beijing.

“We felt the ground move but there is no damage,” he said, adding the mayor has gone to the worst affected areas and would report back later Thursday.

The area is largely populated by Tibetans.

In February an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck neigbouring Xinjiang region, leaving 268 people dead and 4,000 injured.

That quake affected an area of over 22,500 square kilometers (9,000 square miles), causing 157 million dollars worth of damage.

It destroyed 20,000 houses, cut water and power supplies and toppled 591 schools and 384 mosques.

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