Streets like a bombed battlefield, says resident
A 6.3-MAGNITUDE earthquake struck south-western China yesterday, killing more than 150 people and injuring 1,300 in a remote mountainous area of Yunnan province. Buildings, including 12,000 houses and a school, collapsed.
The US Geological Survey said the quake registered at a shallow depth of less than 1.6km. The Chinese state media said it was felt most strongly in Yunnan, as well as in the neighbouring provinces of Guizhou and Sichuan.
The official Xinhua news agency said that the epicentre was in Longtoushan town in Yunnan's Ludian county.
Communications have been seriously affected and rescuers are rushing to the scene, the report said.
Pictures posted online by the state media showed troops stretchering people away, and bricks which had fallen off buildings damaging cars.
Many people rushed out of buildings into the street after the quake hit, electricity supplies were cut and at least one school collapsed, Xinhua added.
Ma Liya, a resident in the county seat, told Xinhua via telephone that the streets were like a "battlefield after bombardment". She added that her neighbour's house, a new two-storey building, was toppled.
"It's so terrible. The aftermath is much, much worse than what happened after the quake two years ago. I have never felt such strong tremors before. All I can see are ruins," she said.
In September 2012, 80 people were killed when twin earthquakes struck the mountainous border area of Yunnan and Guizhou.
Xinhua reported that a resident, who was driving as the earthquake hit, said it felt like "sailing a boat".
The quake toppled and cracked many buildings, particularly old structures and residential homes.
"Too many buildings were damaged and we are collecting data on deaths and injuries," said Chen Guoyong, head of the Longtoushan township, adding that a rescue operation is under way.
The government is sending 2,000 tents, 3,000 folding beds, 3,000 quilts and 3,000 coats to the disaster zone, the Xinhua report said.
Ludian is home to some 265,900 people, Xinhua added.
China is frequently struck by quakes in this part of the country. A quake in Sichuan in 2008 killed almost 70,000 people.