Deadly earthquake strikes China's Sichuan province

Residents gather outside buildings in Xian, China, on 8 August 2017Image copyright

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The tremors were felt in Xian, a few hundred kilometres from the epicentre

An earthquake has killed at least five people and injured more than 60 in China’s south-western province of Sichuan, officials say.

The 6.5-magnitude quake struck in the sparsely-populated north of Sichuan, the US Geological Survey said.

Photos showed damage to buildings in the Jiuzhaigou area of the province, an area popular with tourists.

Sichuan province is prone to earthquakes. More than 70,000 people were killed in a quake in 2008.

It was not immediately clear how serious the latest earthquake is. China’s National Commission for Disaster Reduction, quoted by AFP news agency, said as many as 100 people may have been killed and 130,000 homes damaged.

Some reports in the Chinese media said tourists were among the dead and injured but this has not been confirmed.

Photos showed damage to buildings, including a hotel, in Jiuzhaigou, home to one of China’s most famous nature reserves and a Unesco World Heritage site.

A restaurant owner in the town said this quake felt stronger than the 2008 tremor, and many people had fled buildings and were taking refuge in the main square.

“People didn’t dare grab anything like money or clothes – we just all ran outside right away,” Tang Sesheng was quoted by the AFP as saying.

People could be seen sitting out on the street in Xian, home to the Terracotta Warriors, some 700km (430 miles) away.

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