China earthquake kills 11, injures 122

Rescuers search for earthquake survivors in the rubble of a building in Yibin early on June 18, 2019.

:: The toll from a strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake in southwest China rose to 11 dead and 122 injured on Tuesday, as rescuers pulled survivors from wrecked buildings.

The earthquake struck outside the city of Yibin in Sichuan province late Monday at a depth of 16 km (10 miles), according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

A hotel close to the epicenter collapsed, but it was not immediately clear if there were any casualties from that incident, the official Xinhua news agency said. Cracks appeared in several area highways.

State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of rescuers bringing a survivor out of the rubble of a building on a stretcher overnight. Other images showed a woman being helped out of another collapsed structure.

Images from Changning County showed an electricity pole knocked down on the roof of a building, a hole in a brick home and broken windows on the street.

Eight died in Changning County and three others in Qixian County, the Yibin city government said in its Twitter-like Weibo account. Rescuers pulled six bodies and seven survivors from buildings, it added.

The area was hit by a series of at least four aftershocks, the largest of which had a magnitude of 5.1.

More than 300 firefighters have been dispatched to the scene. Rescue personnel were also sent with 5,000 tents, 10,000 folding cots and other emergency supplies, Xinhua reported.

The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the main quake at 5.8, adding that “extensive damage is probable and the disaster is likely widespread.”

Earthquakes regularly strike Sichuan, where a powerful 7.9-magnitude quake left 87,000 people dead or missing in 2008.

In February, three earthquakes hit Rongxian county in the province, killing two people and injuring 12 others – casualties that residents blamed on fracking.

Local authorities later halted shale gas mining after thousands of residents protested.

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