A 7.0 magnitude earthquake has killed at least 13 people and injured scores more in China’s south-western province of Sichuan, BBC reports.
The quake struck in the sparsely populated north of Sichuan, the US Geological Survey said. Some reports suggest the death toll could grow. The epicenter was close to an area popular with tourists. Sichuan province is prone to earthquakes. More than 70,000 people were killed in a quake there in 2008.
The quake struck at around 21:20 (13:20 GMT) about 300km (180 miles) north of the provincial capital Chengdu, and was 10km deep. 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, though there is no suggestion yet that the death toll could reach anywhere near the levels caused by that disaster.
Tang Sesheng told the AFP news agency that many people were taking refuge in the main square.
“People didn’t dare grab anything like money or clothes – we just all ran outside right away,” she said.
China’s National Commission for Disaster Reduction, quoted by AFP, said as many as 100 people may have been killed and 130,000 homes damaged.Some reports in Chinese media said tourists were among the dead and injured.
President Xi Jinping called for “all-out efforts to rapidly organize relief work and rescue the injured people”, state news agency Xinhua reports, and fire officers and soldiers were being deployed from nearby areas.