A strong earthquake in southern China’s Yunnan province toppled thousands of homes on Sunday, killing at least 367 people and injuring more than 1,881.
About 12,000 homes collapsed in Ludian, a densely populated county located around 277 miles northeast of Yunnan’s capital, Kunming, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The magnitude-6.1 quake struck at 4:30 p.m. at a depth of 6 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Its epicenter was in Longtoushan township, 14 miles southwest of the city of Zhaotong, the Ludian county seat.
Ma Liya, a resident of Zhaotong, told Xinhua that the streets there were like a “battlefield after bombardment.” She added that her neighbor’s house, a new two-story building, had toppled.
At least 122 of the dead were in Ludian, with an additional 1,300 people injured there, Xinhua reported. It said an additional 49 people died, one was missing and 102 were injured in Qiaojia county, which has a population of 580,000.
News reports said rescuers were still trying to reach victims in more remote towns Sunday night.
Photos on the Chinese social media site Weibo showed rescuers searching through flattened buildings and people injured amid toppled bricks.
The homes that collapsed in Ludian, which has a population of about 429,000, were mostly old brick houses, Xinhua said, adding that electricity and telecommunications were cut off in the county.
The Red Cross Society of China has allocated 2,000 quilts, 2,000 jackets and 200 tents to aid those made homeless by the quake, while Red Cross branches in Hong Kong, Macau and neighboring Sichuan province have also sent relief supplies, Xinhua said.
The mountainous region where the quake occurred is largely agricultural, with farming and mining the top industries, and is prone to earthquakes.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said the quake was the strongest to hit Yunnan in 14 years.
In 1970, a magnitude-7.7 earthquake in Yunnan killed at least 15,000 people, and a magnitude-7.1 quake in the province killed more than 1,400 in 1974. In September 2012, 81 people died and 821 were injured in a series of quakes in the Yunnan region.
Source: The LA Times | ASSOCIATED PRESS