Houses collapse in China quake

2011-12-02 19:22
Beijing - A moderate earthquake in northwestern China has destroyed hundreds of homes and damaged many more, but caused no reported casualties, the government said on Friday.

Nearly 300 houses collapsed in Kashi prefecture, in China's vast and sparsely populated Xinjiang region, when the 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck late on Thursday, damaging nearly 2 000 more, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

Nearly 1 500 people were evacuated from their homes, the ministry said on its website. Tents and other relief materials were being transported to the quake-hit region.

Xinjiang is a vast region with a population of around 20 million, of which roughly nine million are Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking mainly Muslim ethnic minority.

A 5.4-magnitude quake struck the region in November, destroying more than 50 houses and damaging hundreds more. An August quake of 5.2-magnitude injured at least 26 people, three of them critically, and destroyed more than 30 homes.

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