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China says 6.5 quake in far west kills 3, collapses homes

BEIJING (AP) — A magnitude 6.5 earthquake that shook China’s far-western region of Xinjiang killed three people, injured 71 and collapsed thousands of houses, officials said Saturday.

The quake hit Pishan county in the Hotan region of Xinjiang early Friday. Earlier reports on state media said that six people had died, but by Saturday the China Earthquake Administration gave the tally as three killed and 71 injured.

“Buildings were trembling and people rushed to the streets,” said Jin Xingchang, an express courier in Hotan city, about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Pishan.

Authorities estimated economic losses from the quake were at least $30 million, the People’s Daily newspaper reported.

The mostly ethnic Muslim Uighur area of Pishan is at the southern edge of the Taklamakan desert near the border with India, and is rich in mineral resources including coal, crude oil, natural gas and jade.

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