China

New quake hits devastated western China region

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Beijing (dpa) - An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale caused more damage on Wednesday to an area of China's far west where some 300 people died and 4,000 were injured in a stronger quake last month.

The epicentre of Wednesday's quake was in the Xinjiang region close to Bachu and Jiashi county towns, the two areas worst hit by the February 24 quake, an official at the regional seismological bureau told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa by telephone.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but some houses collapsed in the area, the official said.

''We are still investigating; the situation is not clear yet,'' he said.

More than 3,000 aftershocks have hit the area since the 6.8-magnitude quake last month, state media said.

Officials said some 270 people died in Bachu, nearly all of them in the county's Qongkurqak township.

Thousands of people who lost their homes in the earlier quake have been forced to brave sub-zero nighttime temperatures in communal tents provided by relief agencies. dpa bs pw rk

AP-NY-03-12-03 0658EST

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