Beijing - China closed schools in Tibet's capital for safety reasons on Tuesday a day after a huge earthquake struck to the west and months after hundreds of classrooms were flattened in a devastating quake in Sichuan.

The 6.6 magnitude Tibet earthquake, with an epicentre 80 km (50 miles) west of Lhasa, killed at least nine people, state media reported, revising down an earlier estimated death toll of at least 30.

Nearly 200 homes were "toppled".

Most of the victims were women, children and elderly people, as men were away "mowing and storing forage grass for the winter", Xinhua news agency quoted a villager as saying.

"All schools in Lhasa were closed due to safety concerns," Xinhua said, adding that a total of 188 tremors hit the region -- including one strong quake above magnitude 6 and one above 5.

The May 12 earthquake in the mountainous southwestern province of Sichuan killed at least 80,000 people and devastated whole towns.

But in many areas, school buildings collapsed, killing children and teachers in their classrooms, while surrounding houses remained standing, prompting accusations of shoddy building and corruption.