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China: Earthquake Kills 80 In Southwest

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Chinese state media say the death toll from a series of earthquakes in southwestern China has risen to at least 80, and more than 700 others are injured.

The official Xinhua news agency says the 5.7-magnitude quake and several subsequent tremors hit Yunnan and Guizhou provinces Friday. At least 16 aftershocks have been reported.

People's Republic of China
People’s Republic of China

Television footage showed hundreds of people gathered on streets strewn with fallen bricks and rocks in the town of Yiliang, which appears to have been the worst hit. Officials said emergency aid is being sent to Yunnan, where more than 100,000 people have been evacuated.

Rescuers have yet to reach some of the villages hit by the earthquakes. Reuters news agency reports that many homes in the area are constructed of mud and timber, making them prone to collapse.

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the largest quake at 5.6-magnitude and said it struck at a depth of 10 kilometers.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has called for immediate efforts to help with disaster relief work in the area. He spoke from Vladivostok, Russia, where he is attending an Asia-Pacific economic forum.

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