PEKING — A powerful earthquake struck China's western Xinjiang province near the Soviet border, damaging hundreds of buildings and forcing the evacuation of at least 250 families, officials said Sunday. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The quake, measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale, struck at 4:09 p.m. Saturday and was followed by many aftershocks, the official New China News Agency said.
It placed the epicenter in Wushi county, about 80 miles from the Soviet border in the rugged Tian Shan mountains.
A local government official in the town of Wushi, about 30 miles southwest of the epicenter, said the temblor destroyed eight houses in the area and damaged 409 others. He said about 30,000 people live in the remote area.
"So far, we have no reports of deaths or injuries," the official said in a telephone interview. "But at least 250 houses have been evacuated, and the families have been moved into tents or neighboring homes."
The temblor was the largest to hit earthquake-prone Xinjiang since one measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale killed at least 67 people in August, 1985.