BEIJING • An earthquake measuring 6.5 in magnitude struck China's southwestern province of Sichuan yesterday killing five tourists.
The quake struck in a sparsely populated area 200km west-northwest of the city of Guangyuan at a depth of 10km, the United States Geological Survey said.
More than 60 people were injured, including 30 in serious condition, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Sichuan earthquake administration said the epicentre of the quake was in Ngawa prefecture, largely populated by ethnic Tibetans, many of whom are nomadic herders, but also close to the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve, a popular tourist destination. The area is frequently struck by earthquakes.
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Pictures on state media-run social media sites showed some minor damage in Jiuzhaigou, with tiles having fallen from buildings and people gathering outdoors, but no major damage.
State television cited a resident in a village near Jiuzhaigou as saying no buildings had collapsed, but that there had been strong shaking and people had fled outdoors. Shaking was felt in the provincial capital Chengdu and as far away as Xian, home of the Terracotta Warriors, according to Chinese social media.
The China Earthquake Administration has activated level-I emergency response procedures, Xinhua reported. Work teams have been sent to the stricken area to carry out emergency operations.
China has a four-level earthquake emergency response system, with level-I being the top. A quake in Sichuan in May 2008 killed almost 70,000 people.