China’s earthquake leaves 600 dead

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The death toll from a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit southern China’s Yunnan province last Sunday rose to nearly 600 on Thursday.

China’s official news agency Xinhua said at least 600 people were killed in the quake, most of the casualties from Ludian county.

Rescuers and residents search for survivors among debris of collapsed buildings on 4 August, 2014, one day after a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Longtoushan township in the Yunnan province (photo: Reuters)

Another 180 people are missing and 2,400 injured, according to Yunnan’s information bureau.

About 12,000 homes were demolished in the province, according to the agency. Many of the brick homes that collapsed in Ludian, which has a population of 429,000, were senior citizens.

A general view shows collapsed houses after an earthquake hit Ludian county, Yunnan province August 3 (photo: Reuters)

State broadcast CCTV said 29,400 had been evacuated. The death toll was expected to rise once rescuers reached remote communities to assess casualties.

Paramilitary policemen carry an injured woman on a stretcher after an earthquake hit Ludian county of Zhaotong, Yunnan province (photo: Reuters)

Electricity and telecommunications were cut off in the county, Xinhua reported.

State TV channel CCTV said the quake was the strongest to hit Yunnan in 14 years.

Paramilitary policemen carry an injured resident on a makeshift stretcher after an earthquake hit Longtoushan township of Ludian county, Yunnan province (photo: Reuters)

In May 2008, a powerful earthquake that hit Sichuan province left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.

At least 15,000 were killed in 1970 when a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Yunnan region.

Rescuers search for survivors as they walk among debris of collapsed buildings after an earthquake hit Longtoushan township of Ludian county (photo: Reuters)

A paramilitary policeman carries a baby in his arms after an earthquake hit Ludian county of Zhaotong (photo: Reuters)

People walk among debris after an earthquake hit Ludian county, Yunnan province (photo: Reuters)