China: 5.5-magnitude quake in Xingiang province kills eight

Earthquake kills eight in western China report

The quake also destroyed more than 1,500 homes and killed around 800 animals.

Emergency services are still sifting through the rubble, looking for survivors trapped in debris.

At least over 20 injured after a 5.5-magnitude quake struck Taxkorgan County in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at 5:58am Thursday, the region's natural disaster administration said.

So far, the quake has affected lives of more than 12,000 people.

Authorities said search and rescue work was underway and the injured were being treated at hospitals. The remote mountainous area borders Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan in China's Xinjiang region.

A strong quake of magnitude 6.8 struck north of Antarctica on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but it was not expected to cause a tsunami.

A total of 9,200 people from Taxkorgan, the closest county to the epicentre, have been relocated to safe places.

Locals experienced several aftershocks following the tremor, the agency reported. Other photos, all from the official natural disaster monitoring centre, show ceiling panels on the ground in one building and products on the floor in a store. Search and rescue operation is now underway.

Earthquakes are common in China's west, although the low population density there often means casualty figures are low.

The China Earthquake Administration activated level-III emergency response procedures earlier Thursday.

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