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AP Photo/Xinhua/Hu Chao
In this photo taken by cellphone and released by China's Xinhua News Agency, men at rubbles of buildings look for survivors after an earthquake in Ludian County of Zhaotong City in southwest China's Yunnan Province Sunday.

Strong quake kills at least 175 in southern China

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

About 12,000 homes collapsed in Ludian, a densely populated county of 429,000. The magnitude-6.1 quake struck at 4:30 p.m. at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Its epicenter was in Longtoushan township, 23 kilometers (14 miles) southwest of the city of Zhaotong, the Ludian county seat.

China's official Xinhua News Agency said at least 150 people were killed in the quake.

Ma Liya, a resident of Zhaotong, told Xinhua that the streets there were like "battlefield after bombardment." She added that her neighbor's house, a new two-story building, had toppled.

At least 120 of the dead were in densely populated Ludian county, with another 180 missing and 1,300 people injured there, Yunnan's information bureau reported. The province's seismological bureau said another 24 people died and more than 100 were injured in Qiaojia county.

Xinhua said about 12,000 homes were toppled in Ludian, a county of 429,000 people located around 366 kilometers (277 miles) northeast of Yunnan province's capital, Kunming.

Chen Guoyong, the head of Longtoushan township, told Xinhua that many houses there had collapsed.

Photos on the Chinese social media site Weibo showed several people apparently injured amid toppled bricks.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said the quake was the strongest to hit Yunnan in 14 years. It reported that the quake loosened rocks that blocked a road near the city of Zhaotong and broadcast an image of a car apparently damaged by debris from the temblor.

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.

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