A strong earthquake jolted Yunnan province of southern China on Sunday, claiming at least 367 lives while injuring over 1,800 people.
The magnitude-6.1 quake hit the Yunnan province at 4:30 pm on Sunday at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), the US Geological Survey report said.
With 357 deaths, the highest toll was reported in the Zhaotong City. Quijing City reported 10 deaths.
According to China’s official Xinhua News Agency, as many as 12,000 homes collapsed in densely populated Ludian county, located around 366 kilometers (277 miles) northeast of Yunnan’s capital, Kunming.
Meanwhile, a major rescue and relief operation is underway to evacuate the people stuck in the debris. More than 2,500 troops have been dispatched to the disaster-hit regions.
The government officials said that the epicenter of the strongest quake in 14 years in Yunnan province was in the Ludian county seat of Longtoushan township, 23 kilometers (14 miles) southwest of the city of Zhaotong.
“The streets turned into a battlefield after bombardment,” Ma Liya, a resident of Zhaotong, said.
Expressing the misery, she said that her neighbor’s , two-storey house toppled and into debris.
She also said that the tremors were far worse than the 2012 earthquake that killed 81 people.
“The aftermath is much, much worse than what happened after the quake two years ago. I have never felt such strong tremors before. What I can see are all ruins,” Ma said.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his grief over the unfortunate disaster.
“The UN is ready to lend its assistance to efforts to respond to humanitarian needs and to mobilize any international support needed.” said a statement from his office.
The tremors were also felt in the neighbouring Guizhou and Sichuan provinces.