A SEVERE earthquake has hit the remote western province of Qinghai causing extensive damage in a town which had already been devastated by an earthquake 31/2 years ago. Monday's quake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale, destroyed dozens of houses and created huge cracks in office buildings in the town of Gonghe, located in a predominately Tibetan region of Hainan, officials in the provincial capital, Xining, said yesterday. Xinhua (the New China News Agency) reported that three people had been injured in the quake. All of the buildings destroyed or damaged had been rebuilt after the quake of April 26, 1990, officials said. The 1990 earthquake, which measured seven on the Richter Scale, completely destroyed the town, leading to 115 deaths and causing about HK$100 million in economic losses. Monday's quake was the second disaster to hit Gonghe county, with a population of 130,000, in the past five months. At least 242 people were killed in August when a dam in the county failed and water from a reservoir charged downstream destroying homes and farmland.