Over 170 killed as 
hits China

A strong earthquake in southern China’s Yunnan province has toppled thousands of homes, killing at least 175 people and injuring more than 1,400.

About 12,000 homes collapsed in Ludian, a densely populated county located around 277 miles (366km) north-east of Yunnan’s capital, Kunming, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The magnitude 6.1 quake struck at 4.30pm local time at a depth of six miles (10km), according to the US Geological Survey. Its epicentre was in Longtoushan township, 14 miles (23km) south-west of the city of Zhaotong, the Ludian county seat.

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Ma Liya, a resident of Zhaotong, told Xinhua that the streets there were like a “battlefield after bombardment”. She said her neighbour’s house, a new two-storey building, had toppled.

Xinhua said at least 175 people were killed, with 181 missing and 1,402 injured. At least 122 of the dead were in Ludian, with another 1,300 people injured there, Xinhua reported. It said another 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 tonight.

Pictures 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 neighbouring Sichuan province have also sent relief supplies, Xinhua said.