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SW China Earthquake Kills 18
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A magnitude-5.1 earthquake which occurred in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Saturday morning had killed at least 18, local government said.

Sixteen fatalities in Yanjin county and at least two in neighboring Daguan county were reported, said a source with Zhaotong municipal government.

The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at 09:10 AM Saturday, was at 28 degrees north latitude and 104.2 degrees east longitude, about 90 kilometers from Zhaotong city, which administers Yanjin and Daguan.

The quake has left more than 60 injured and also destroyed 56 houses, local officials said.

Houses in Yanjin, a county on the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau with a population of 350,000, were mostly built near hillsides and therefore are vulnerable to earthquakes, said experts with China Seismological Bureau.

Several hundred workers have joined in the rescue operation.

The local civil affairs department has sent 500 tents, 1,000 quilts and 500 blankets to the quake-hit areas.

The quake damaged roads and disrupted train services, electricity and telecommunications, according to Zhaotong municipal government.

The local government has restored roads and telecommunications by 3:00 PM, but failed to resume electricity supply and train services on the Neijiang-Kunming railway, which connects all the four southwestern provinces and municipality of Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Chongqing.

(Xinhua News Agency July 22, 2006)

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