Earthquake Measuring 5.5 Jolts Tibet

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Lhasa: A shallow magnitude-5.5 earthquake struck the mountainous region of Tibet on Wednesday and Chinese state has said that casualties are likely.

The quake struck at 9-15 a.m. (0115 GMT), 70 kilometres (44 miles) northwest of Gyamotang village at a depth of just 10 kilometres (6 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake struck near Tibet’s border with Qinghai province to the north.

Epicentre: 2200 km from Beijing

China’s official Xinhua News Agency quoted the regional seismological bureau as saying that the epicentre was in Kata Town, about 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) from the capital Beijing and the site of two major Buddhist temples.

The town’s chief administrator, identified by the single name of Samba, told Xinhua he had seen two injured people on his way to help with rescue efforts in a village 10 kilometres (6 miles) away. Roads leading to Guodong village crumbled, Xinhua said, hampering rescuers.

Calls ring unanswered

Calls to the town, county and city authorities rang unanswered, although the Tibetan regional fire service said in an online statement that rescuers were on their way to Kata.

The region of western China in the foothills of the Himalayas is an active earthquake zone, and a 2010 quake in nearby Yushu killed almost 3,000 people.

Killer mega quake of 2008

Nearly 90,000 people were killed in China’s worst quake in recent years, a 7.9 magnitude temblor that struck Sichuan province in May 2008.