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Massive quake kills 150 people, topples 12,000 homes in China

YUNNAN: At least 150 people have been killed and more than 1,400 injured by an earthquake in southwest China. Some 12,000 homes collapsed in Ludian, a densely populated county in Yunnan province, according to the Xinhua news agency.

News reports said rescuers are still trying to reach victims in more remote towns. The epicentre was in the town of Longtoushan where one official was quoted as saying, “Too many buildings were damaged.”

Ma Liya, a resident of Ludian county, which was a few miles away, said the streets were like a “battlefield after bombardment. The aftermath is much, much worse than what happened after the quake two years ago,” Ma said. “I have never felt such strong tremors before. What I can see are all ruins.”

She added that her neighbour’s house, a new two-storey building, had toppled. Many of the homes that collapsed in Ludian, which has a population of about 4,29,000, were old and made of brick. Electricity and telecommunications have also been cut off in the county

Xinhua is reporting at least 49 people dead and 102 people injured in Qiaojia county. The US Geological Survey said it had a 6.3 magnitude, while China Earthquake Networks Centre measured it at 6.5. The earthquake hit at a depth of six miles at about 4.30pm (9.30am UK time).

Power lines and communications have been badly affected by the strongest earthquake 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.