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The death toll of China’s earthquake that hit Yunnan province on Sunday has reached 589, officials say.

The 6.1-magnitude quake struck a mountainous area, destroying thousands of houses and triggering landslides.

A total of 589 people were killed and nine were missing, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs said. More than 2,400 people were hurt, it said.

Several roads have been blocked and there are concerns about barrier lakes formed when debris blocks rivers.


The 6.1-magnitude quake struck a mountainous area, destroying thousands of houses and triggering landslides

The 6.1-magnitude quake struck a mountainous area, destroying thousands of houses and triggering landslides (photo AP)

The quake’s epicentre was in Longtoushan Township in Ludian County, a region with steep hills and narrow roads.

China has sent thousands of troops to the area to assist survivors and search debris for any trapped people.

Tents and relief goods are also being brought in both by road and helicopter.

But teams trying to repair damaged roads are being hampered by torrential rain, rockfalls and aftershocks, local reports say.

Officials have also urged volunteers to stay away from the area because the damage to infrastructure means routes that are open are very congested.

Meanwhile, about 4,200 residents have been evacuated from one area because of a barrier lake on the Niulan River.

Waters levels in the lake were rising at a rate of 16cm per hour, Xinhua news agency quoted a technical specialist as saying late on Tuesday.

Sixty soldiers was also trapped by a flood from a barrier lake on Tuesday and had to be rescued, the report added.

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A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck south-west China killing at least 367 people, state news agency Xinhua says.

Other 1,300 people are reported injured in the disaster.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck about 7 miles north-west of Wenping in Yunnan province at 16:30 local time.

A major rescue and relief operation is under way.

State broadcaster CCTV said the earthquake was the strongest to hit the province in 14 years.

The quake struck about 7 miles north-west of Wenping in Yunnan province

The quake struck about 7 miles north-west of Wenping in Yunnan province (photo Reuters)

The USGS said the quake struck at a depth of about 6 miles in a remote mountainous area in Yunnan province.

The tremor was also felt in the neighboring provinces of Guizhou and Sichuan.

Xinhua said about 12,000 homes had collapsed in Ludian, a county of some 439,000 people, north-east of Yunnan province’s capital, Kunming.

All of the casualties reported so far are in Qiaojia County of the Zhaotong region, which appeared to be the hardest hit.

The government is sending 2,000 tents, 3,000 folding beds, 3,000 quilts and 3,000 coats to the disaster zone, the report said.

After initial reports of a death toll of 26, the numbers of casualties rose sharply, passing 150 before Xinhua reported a figure of 367 killed.

The news agency says the epicentre of the earthquake was in Longtoushan in Yunnan’s Ludian county.

Chen Guoyong, the head of Longtoushan township, told Xinhua that many houses had fallen and rescuers had been sent to the epicenter.

Many people rushed out of buildings onto the street after the quake hit, electricity supplies were cut and at least one school collapsed, Xinhua reports.

Communications have also been seriously affected.

South-west China lies in an area that is prone to earthquakes. An earthquake in Sichuan in 2008 killed tens of thousands of people.

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A landslide in south-western China has buried at least 19 people, 18 of them children, local officials say.

A school house and two farm houses were buried when the landslide struck a village in Yunnan province early on Thursday, the local government said.

Rescue teams were on their way to the site, the statement said.

A series of earthquakes, including one of 5.8 magnitude, hit the province on 8 September, killing dozens of people.

The landslide happened at 08:00 local time.

It buried the Youfangtai Primary School in the village of Zhenhe, in Yiliang County, Zhaotong City, according to a statement from Yiliang County officials.

Li Zhong, head of Yiliang’s education bureau, said that the students were at school during the national holiday to make up for classes suspended after the September earthquake, reports the China News Service.

A family of three people had managed to flee before the landslide hit, said state-run Xinhua news agency.

Other residents had also been moved to safer places after the landslide, it added.

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A series of earthquakes has hit south-west China, leaving at least 50 people dead and 150 injured, Chinese state media say.

The quakes struck the border of Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, with the largest felt at 11:19 Beijing time, Xinhua news agency said.

The US Geological Survey registered the two strongest of the series of quakes at 5.6 magnitude.

The quakes affected mostly mountainous areas that saw landslides, reports say.

 

A series of earthquakes has hit south-west China, leaving at least 50 people dead and 150 injured

A series of earthquakes has hit south-west China, leaving at least 50 people dead and 150 injured

 

Zhang Junwei, a spokesman from the Yunnan seismological bureau, told the Associated Press (AP) agency that most of the deaths were from Yunnan’s Yiliang county.

“The casualty number is still being compiled. I don’t know what was like for the other towns, but my town got hit badly,” another government official in Yiliang told AP.

No deaths have been reported in Guizhou so far.

The death toll is expected to rise further, especially in areas affected by landslides, Xinhua says.

“Roads are blocked and rescuers have to climb the mountains to reach hard-hit villages,” Li Fuchun, head of Yunnan’s Luozehe town, was quoted as saying.

Xihua reported that at least 100,000 people have been evacuated and earlier reports said that more than 20,000 houses were damaged.

Mobile and regular phone service in the area was experiencing disruption, according to reports.

Hundreds of local residents had gathered on streets littered with bricks and rocks, television footage from state-run broadcaster CCTV showed.

Users of the Twitter-like weibo reported people rushing out of shaking office buildings, and photos posted online also showed streets strewn with rubble.

Local officials said teams had been sent to distribute tents and blankets to those affected.

The largest of the quakes was also felt in the neighboring province of Sichuan, where a 7.8 magnitude quake in 2008 left tens of thousands dead.

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