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Two hurt as earthquake hits Qinghai
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Two men were injured on Monday when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit a mining area in the Haixi Mongolian and Tibet autonomous prefecture of Qinghai province, the local government said on its website.

The quake happened at about 9:22 AM, and its epicenter was in Da Qaidam, a sparsely populated town of about 16,000 Mongolian, Tibetan, Muslim Hui and Han people, the prefecture government said.

According to the People's Daily's website, more than 25 aftershocks were reported before noon in the area, with the strongest being a magnitude 5, which struck at about 11:44 AM.

The two injured men were among several groups of miners working in the area at the time of the tremor, the government report said.

Zhang Jianchang, an official with the Qinghai earthquake administration, told China Daily: "As far as we know, there were about 200 miners working underground at the time, but they are all now safely back above ground. There have been no reports of any casualties.

"Da Qaidam is a remote area with a low population density of one person per sq km and seven mines. The earthquake is unlikely to have caused any serious damage."

Zhang was speaking prior to the announcement of the two injuries on the local government website.

It also said cracks had been found in the walls of several houses in Da Qaidam, and in about 20 homes in the city of Delingha, in which Da Qaidam is located.

Also, a number of dilapidated houses collapsed in Golmud, the province's second largest city and a main station on the Qinghai-Tibet railway, but there are no reports of any injuries, the website said.

Li Ning, who works for the railway's operating company, said: "We felt the quake, but the railway was completely unaffected."

Golmud is located about 160 km from the epicenter.

Although there was some disruption to the electricity and water supplies in Da Qaidam, repair work is already under way, the government said on its website.

Gu Xiaodong, an administrative official from Da Qaidam, said all schools in the town had been closed for the day as a safety precaution, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

(China Daily November 11, 2008)

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