Two earthquakes in northwestern China have killed at least nine people and injured dozens, according to reports from the Chinese government.
The quakes – magnitude 6.1 and 5.8 – hit a remote desert area in the Gansu province. Collapsed houses were among the reported damage, which was increasing as aftershocks hit the area.
Hard-hit areas included Minle and Shandan, counties near the city of Zhangye, some 850 miles west of Beijing. Thirty percent of homes near the quake epicenter were damaged. Most buildings in the village of Yaozhaizi, in the Yonggu Township, completely collapsed. Hundreds of livestock were killed or hurt.
Authorities lowered the level in two reservoirs in the area, fearing flooding after they found cracks in the dams.
Snow has been falling recently in the region, and government officials were trying to shelter displaced residents who were sleeping outside, unable or afraid to return to their homes.
The region struck is already prone to earthquakes, and the area is predicted to see even more seismic activity.
In 1920, an 8.5-magnitude quake near that area killed some 200,000 people.
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