Eight people have died after multiple earthquakes hit the northwest region of Xinjiang Thursday morning, according to Chinese state media.

At least 23 others were injured, the autonomous region’s Earthquake Administration said.

Photo: CENC/Google Maps.

According to the state news agency Xinhua, 1520 buildings collapsed or suffered serious damage. Exact figures are still being calculated.

The China Earthquake Networks Centre (CENC) registered multiple earthquakes in the area Thursday morning, with the biggest being a magnitude 5.5 quake. The 8km-deep tremor hit Taxkorgan County at 5:58am.

The county is in Kashgar prefecture in western Xinjiang, near the Tajikistan border.

Photo: Weibo.

The epicentre was close to the country seat, where there were many older houses that had not been demolished yet. This led to more deaths and injuries, reported state agency China News.

The epicentre was 1251 km from Urumqi, the region’s capital, according to the CENC.

Photo: Weibo.

Rescue efforts are underway.

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Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.