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Earthquake hits southwest of China, killing 1 and injuring several

BEIJING — An earthquake hit a mountainous area in southwestern China today, killing at least one person and injuring several more, according to state media and the China Earthquake Administration.

The quake, which measures 5.9 on the Richter scale by the administration and 5.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey, shook several counties in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, including the scenic Shangri-La county. The epicenter was Benzilan, a small town in Yunnan.

The official Xinhua News Agency said one person died and three others were seriously injured. China Earthquake Administration reported that there were no fatalities and that six people were injured. Different accounts of casualties are common within the first few hours of a disaster.

The administration said another major quake hit Shangri-La three days ago, and the U.S. Geological Survey recorded three major aftershocks today.

China’s mountainous areas in its southwest are prone to earthquakes. In May 2008, a powerful quake in Sichuan left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing. In April this year, another quake in Sichuan killed 193 people.

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