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Earthquake kills three, injures 26 in SW. China province.
( 2003-10-17 21:46) (Xinhua)

The death toll in an earthquake that hit Dayao County Thursday evening has increased to three.

The quake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale also left 26 injured.

Over 12,000 houses collapsed and it is estimated that the disaster will cause a loss of over 500 million yuan (over 60 million US dollars).

The epicenter, monitored at 26 degrees north latitude and 101.3 degrees east longitude, was located at the county's Liuqie Township, some 180 km from Kunming, the province's capital, where the shock wave was felt.

The earthquake also affected another four counties, namely Yongren, Yuanmou, Yaoan and Muding.

Located at the junction of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Yunnan Province suffers frequent earthquakes.

According to the provincial seismological bureau, the province have been jolted by 15 earthquakes measuring over 6 on the Richter scale since 1949, which left a total of over 18,000 dead.

A strong quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale struck Dayao on July 21 this year, killing 15 and injuring 294 people.

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