At least 175 people were killed, 1,400 injured and 181 others were missing after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake jolted southwest China’s Yunnan province on Sunday causing widespread death and destruction.
The strong quake hit at 4:30 pm Beijing time (0830 GMT) at a depth of 12 kms with the epicentre in Longtoushan township, 23 kms southwest of the county seat of Ludian, Zhaotong City.
More than 120 residents were killed, over 180 were missing and 1,300 injured in Ludian County, according to the local government. It said more than 12,000 houses were toppled and 30,000 damaged.
The epicentre was monitored at a 12-km depth, the China Earthquake Networks Centre (CENC) said.
“I felt a strong jolt on my fifth-floor home and some small objects in my home fell off the shelves,” a resident in the county seat of Ludian told Xinhua.
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Most people rushed out of buildings to the streets.
Electricity was cut, telecommunications services were affected and it was hard to reach people in Ludian by mobile phone, the resident said.
Another resident said it felt like “sailing a boat” when he was driving a car in the tremor.
The quake toppled and cracked many buildings, particularly old ones and residential homes.
Police and paramilitary officers are assembling and rushing to the quake-hit areas.
Civil affairs authorities sent 2,000 tents, 3,000 folding beds, 3,000 quilts and 3,000 coats to the quake-hit region.
The Yunnan provincial earthquake administration has sent a 30-member working team to the epicentre and will soon hold a meeting to evaluate the situation.
Ludian has a population of 265,900 in its seven townships.
Zhaotong is about 300 kms from Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan.
In September 2012, a 5.7-magnitude quake caused more than 80 deaths and injured more than 800 people.
In 1974, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in the same place caused over 1,400 deaths.
Earlier on Sunday, a 5.0-magnitude earthquake jolted Xigatze Prefecture in Tibet close to Indian and Nepal borders.
Xigatze is located close to the Arunachal Pradesh border.
The epicentre was monitored at a depth of 10 kms.