Death toll rises to five after China earthquake: Xinhua

BEIJING (AFP) - The death toll from a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck a remote part of China's south-west rose to five on Sunday, as media reported the injured have all been successfully rescued.

The quake struck 39km northwest of Kangding in the mountainous west of Sichuan province at 0855 GMT (4.55pm Singapore time) on Saturday.

The latest toll was reported Sunday by state news agency Xinhua, which also adjusted the number of injured from 60 to 54. Three were said to be in critical condition.

"Within nine hours, emergency services were able to successfully rescue all those injured," Xinhua said, without giving details on the current state of the rescue operation.

Just under 80,000 people were affected by the quake, the news agency said, adding that 25,000 houses were damaged and 6,200 people relocated.

Xinhua said the epicentre was at the town of Tagong, where a police rescue team arrived two hours after the tremor struck.

"Six military aircraft, 60 medical staff and nearly 1,000 soldiers and militia remain on standby," the report added.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake had a depth of 14km.

Southwest China lies where the Eurasian and Indian plates meet and is prone to seismic activity.

In May 2008 a 7.9 magnitude quake rocked Sichuan, killing more than 80,000 people and flattening swathes of the province. It was the worst quake disaster to hit China in more than three decades.

nc/sm/ac China-quake-earthquakeAFP 231103 GMT NOV 14