Sep 7, 2012 / 7:14 am
A series of earthquakes collapsed houses and triggered landslides Friday in a remote mountainous part of southwestern China. Damage was preventing rescues and communications systems were disrupted. At least 64 deaths have been reported.
The quakes started with a 5.6-magnitude shock before 11:30 a.m. along the borders of Guizhou and Yunnan provinces, and another equally big quake struck shortly after noon followed by more than 60 aftershocks, Chinese and U.S. government seismologists said. Though only moderate in strength, the quakes were shallow, which often causes more damage.
Hardest hit was Yiliang County, where all but one of the deaths occurred, according to the Yunnan provincial government's official website. Another 715 people in the county were injured, the sites said. Yiliang county's high population density, weak building construction, and propensity for landslides were blamed for the relatively high death toll.
China Central Television showed roads littered with rocks and boulders, and pillars of dust rising over hillcrests, signs of landslides. Footage showed about 200 people crowding onto what looked like a school athletic field in Yiliang, a sizeable city spread along a river in a valley bottom.
With some roads impassable, rescuers had yet to reach some outlying villages and towns, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
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