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Death toll in China earthquake rises to 24

The quake also injured over 200 people in the southwest of the country, near the border with Burma.

Rescue workers look for survivors following the quake
Rescue workers look for survivors following the quake
Image: AP Photo

Updated 2.35pm

AN EARTHQUAKE IN China has killed at least 24 people and injured more than 200 others in the southwest of the country, near the border with Burma.

Earlier reports had put the death toll at 14 but this has since risen as rescuers work through the wreckage of more than 1,000 houses and apartment buildings that have collapsed in Yunnan province’s Yingjiang county.

The earthquake also damaged a hotel and supermarket according to officials and state media.

Witnesses reported that people were buried under debris from buildings damaged by the quake, which was centered in , the official Xinhua News Agency said.

More than 127,000 people have been evacuated to nearby shelters, Xinhua reported, citing the Civil Affairs Ministry.

More than 1,000 soldiers have been sent to aid in rescue efforts, the news agency said. The quake hit while many people, including students, were home for a customary midday rest, CCTV reported.

The epicenter was in Shiming Village, just over one kilometre from the county seat, but triggered a power outage across Yingjiang, Xinhua said.

The mountainous area lies 2,400 kilometres southwest of Beijing, close to the border with Burma.

The Burma Meteorological Department released a statement saying a quake had hit some 370 kilometres northeast of Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city.

The statement did not mention injuries, damage or the specific area of Burma most affected by the quake.

Authorities in the tightly ruled country tend not to immediately discuss the effects of natural disasters.

The part of Burma that borders Yunnan province stretches through Myanmar’s northeastern Shan state, with scattered border towns between stretches of mountainous terrain.

- AP

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Hugh O'Connell

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