Zogang County and Markam County in Qamdo Prefecture, some 1,000 km southeast of provincial capital Lhasa, were jolted by the quake at 5:23 am (local time).

"We felt strong tremors in the county seat when the quake took place, and damage has been seen to houses and roads, but I have received no immediate report of casualties," Zhang Hongjun, head of the local unit of ruling Communist Party, told state-run news agency.

However, Zhang is worried for the villagers in Ringo, a mountainous town with a population of 3,476, which is right on the epicentre, and is about 75 kms away from the county seat of Zogang.

"It will take us more time to figure out the situation there, as eight of the 12 villages in Ringo are not accessible by telecommunication or highway, so the rescuers have to go there on foot," he said.

The quake was also felt in the neighbouring Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Deqen and Yunnan Province, and local government is investigating consequent damage.

Aftershocks have been occurring in the quake-hit area, with the strongest being 5.1 in magnitude, and another rescue team sent by the government of Qamdo Prefecture is on its way to the affected areas.

Just three weeks ago, a 6.6-magnitude quake jolted Minxian and Zhangxian counties in the northwestern province of Gansu, killing at least 95 people.


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