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China quake death toll rises to 381, over 1,800 injured

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Rescuers carry an injuried child on a stretcher after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit the area in Ludian county in Zhaotong, southwest China's Yunnan province on August 3, 2014.(AFP Photo / China Out)Rescuers carry an injuried child on a stretcher after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit the area in Ludian county in Zhaotong, southwest China's Yunnan province on August 3, 2014.(AFP Photo / China Out)Over 380 people were killed and around 1,800 injured after an earthquake measuring from 6.1 to 6.5, according to different estimates, toppled thousands of buildings in China’s southwestern Yunnan province, reports.

The majority of the dead were from Ludian County, which Chinese state television said was at the epicenter of the quake. Ludian authorities said at least 296 people were killed in their jurisdiction, where an estimated 12,000 houses collapsed and some 30,000 were damaged, BNO News reports.

At least 1,300 people from the county have been injured and 181 remain missing, Yunnan's information bureau reported earlier, and it is unknown how many people could still be trapped under the rubble.

The quake also caused serious damage in Qiaojia County, where another 60 people were killed according to China’s Civil Affairs Ministry. Ten more people reportedly died in Huize County.

The overall death toll reportedly reached 381 by Monday morning local timewith over 1,800 injured.

The US Geological Survey has estimated the quake at 6.1 on the Richter scale, while previously reporting the strikes measuring 6.3. At the same time, the China Earthquake Networks Center said the magnitude of the quake was 6.5.

The quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers, according to USGS.

"I felt a strong jolt on my fifth-floor home and some small objects in my home fell off the shelves," a resident of Ludian told official Xinhua News Agency.

The quake toppled and cracked apart buildings, forcing people to rush into the streets.

About 12,000 homes collapsed in Ludian county, where some 429,000 people live and that is located around 366 kilometers (277 miles) northeast of Yunnan's capital, Kunming.

"The aftermath is much, much worse than what happened after the quake two years ago," Ma Liya, a resident of Zhaotong said. "I have never felt such strong tremors before. What I can see are all ruins."

Local media is reporting that a school was reduced to rubble, among other buildings that were destroyed by the earthquake.

Chinese state media said tremors were felt in Yunnan’s neighboring provinces of Guizhou and Sichuan.

More than 2,500 troops have been sent to quake zone to help in the rescue. 
The civil affairs authorities has sent 2,000 tents, 3,000 folding beds, 3,000 quilts and 3,000 coats to the quake region.

The Red Cross Society of China allocated quilts, jackets and tents for those made homeless by the quake, while Red Cross branches in Hong Kong, Macau and neighboring Sichuan province also sent relief supplies, AP reported.

Yunnan’s seismological bureau has said that the earthquake is the strongest to hit the province in 18 years, independent website Earth-Quake Report said. Yunnan is one of the most earthquake-sensitive provinces in China.

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, AP reports. The last series of quakes in the Yunnan region in September 2012 killed 81 people and left 821 injured.

August 4 2014, 10:31

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