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Deadly EarthQuake hits China; 203 killed, 11500 injured {VIDEO+PICS}

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake in southwestern China has left 203 dead and over 11,500 people injured. The Chinese army has stepped in to deal with the debris of collapsed houses and public building as death toll continues to rise.

Follow RT's LIVE UPDATES on the earthquake in China

The disaster has struck the country's south-western Sichuan province at 00:02 AM GMT (8:02 AM local time) on Saturday, at a depth of around 13 kilometers (7,6 miles), according to China's Xinhua news agency.

China's seismological bureau initially measured the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.0 on the Richter scale, while the US Geological Service estimated the magnitude at 6.6.

At least 180 people have been killed and 11,227 injured, Xinhua news agency reports, citing the China Earthquake Administration. Most of the deaths occurred in the city of Ya’an. It is quite close to where a huge quake hit in 2008, claiming the lives of almost 70,000 people.

China’s Earthquake Administration has reported that over 1.5 million people have been affected by the earthquake and aftershocks.

Since the rescue operation began 54 people, two children and a pregnant woman among them, are reported to have been dug out alive from under the collapsed buildings. According to unofficial estimates, up to 90 per cent of all buildings in the Ya’an area have been somehow damaged by the earthquake.

Nearly 8,000 troops are already assisting in the rescue operation and 10,000 more remain on standby ready to be dispatched into the disaster zone.

China's state-owned CCTV channel said that currently only emergency vehicles are allowed access into Yan'an, athough Chengdu airport is once again functional.

It has been reported that a bus transporting 17 soldiers to the earthquake area crashed into a river from a cliff. One of the soldiers died in hospital, while five more were seriously injured.

Thousands of prisoners have been evacuated from the local prisons in Sichuan. No deaths have been reported among the prisoners.

There are also reports of light rain hitting Ya'an, which raises the danger of landslides.

Residents gather outside their homes after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake which struck near Ya'an city, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, April 20, 2013. (Reuters)
Residents gather outside their homes after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake which struck near Ya'an city, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, April 20, 2013. (Reuters)

 

Residents in neighboring provinces have also pointed out quite strong indicators that a quake was happening. People in the provincial capital of Chengdu were leaving their homes in fear - a report from China's Sina Weibo microblog states. Chengdu is 140 kilometers (85 miles) away from the epicenter of the earthquake.

The area trembled with a multitude of aftershocks, the strongest of which hit a magnitude of 5.1, in Lushan and Boaxing counties at 8:07 AM.

A Chengdu resident said he could feel the earthquake all the way up on the 13th floor of his apartment building, which he claims shook for about 20 seconds, as tiles were seen falling off the neighboring buildings.

Ya'an is a city with a rich history, considered to be one of the origins of China's tea culture, as well as housing one of China's main centers for protecting its Giant Panda population.

A view of cracks on a wall after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern China's Sichuan province is seen in this April 20, 2013.(Reuters / China Central Television)
A view of cracks on a wall after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern China's Sichuan province is seen in this April 20, 2013.(Reuters / China Central Television)

 

Residents leave their homes and gather in a public square after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake which struck near Ya'an city, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, April 20, 2013.(Reuters / Stringer)
Residents leave their homes and gather in a public square after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake which struck near Ya'an city, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, April 20, 2013.(Reuters / Stringer)

 

People walk on rubble after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern China's Sichuan province in this April 20, 2013.(Reuters / China Central Television)
People walk on rubble after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern China's Sichuan province in this April 20, 2013.(Reuters / China Central Television)

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Comment by BK on April 22, 2013 at 6:52pm

H.A.A.R.P.

Comment by Gee on April 21, 2013 at 11:21pm

God's gotten tired of the people of this world's mess.

Comment by Bombahdrop on April 21, 2013 at 5:26pm
You know what's crazy to me, that all the rumors in the world of wars combined with Evil Acts of Man they are all blind to mother natures Fury. They continue with their hate crime and threats to do what nature is already doing . All these things r happening because Man r destroying the planet with their Evil. All the Bombings, shooting,stabbing,beating people to death, raping any and everybody including poor defenseless animal , the grass the trees, all our natural resources are exaughsted beyond repair. All that the world needs is Peace,Love,Unity but nobody wants that they want this instead cause if not try giving Peace,Love& Unity a try. Just try. I hold firm for my Lord to come rescue me from this hell down here.
Comment by Ann-Marie Bridgeman on April 21, 2013 at 5:18pm

It is such a devastating sight. You are here now and in a little while you are no more. Sorry things like this happens but we know this is a must and there is nothing man can do to stop it.PEACE to the people of China. 

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