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At least 367 dead in southwest China earthquake

The quake measured 6.1 on the Richter Scale.

In this photo taken by cellphone and released by China's Xinhua News Agency, men at rubbles of buildings look for survivors after an earthquake in Ludian County of Zhaotong City.
In this photo taken by cellphone and released by China's Xinhua News Agency, men at rubbles of buildings look for survivors after an earthquake in Ludian County of Zhaotong City.
Image: AP Photo/Xinhua/Hu Chao

Updated 8.39 pm

MORE THAN 367 people died and almost 2,000 were injured when a strong earthquake hit southwest China’s mountainous Yunnan province, bringing homes crashing to the ground and sparking a massive relief operation.

The quake in Zhaotong prefecture, in the province’s northeast, toppled buildings and left rescue teams and residents to pull survivors from beneath the rubble, images on social media showed.

“At least 367 people have been killed and 1,881 people were injured,” the official news agency Xinhua reported early on Monday, citing rescuers and raising a previous toll given minutes earlier of 357.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported the quake at a magnitude of 6.1 and said it struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km at 4:30 pm.

“Too many buildings were damaged and we are collecting data on deaths and injuries,” it quoted a local official as saying.

“Highly vulnerable”

USGS had warned that “overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking”.

Chinese state media put the magnitude at 6.5, citing the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Rushing

State television reported that firefighters were rushing to the epicentre.

Southwest China lies where the Eurasian and Indian plates meet and is prone to earthquakes.

In 1974, a 6.8-quake in the same area killed more than 1,500 people.

In September 2012, 80 people were killed when twin earthquakes struck the mountainous border area of Yunnan and Guizhou.

In May 2008, an 8.0-magnitude quake rocked Sichuan, which neighbours Yunnan, killing tens of thousands of people and flattening swathes of the province.

- © AFP, 2014

Read: China places official death toll of ‘gang attack’ at 96 >

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