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China quake : Death toll rises to 367, 1800 injured, 12,000 houses collapse

Beijing, Aug 4 (): A 6.5-magnitude earthquake jolted Ludian County of Zhaotong City in southwest China’s Yunnan Province at 4:30 p.m. Sunday (Beijing Time), said the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC), killing at least 367 people and injuring about 1,800.

Ludian is a thickly populated county situated at about 366 kilometers (277 miles) northeast of Yunnan’s capital, Kunming. The 6.1- magnitude earthquake struck the region at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), according to the US Geological Survey.

The epicenter of the quake was in Longtoushan Township, 23 kilometers (14 miles) southwest of the city of Zhaotong, the Ludian county seat. The earthquake monitoring agency of China said the magnitude of the earthquake was at 6.5.

As of 8 a.m. on Monday, 411 aftershocks had been recorded in the quake-hit region, with four measured between 4.0 to 4.9 magnitude and five between 3.0 to 3.9 magnitude, according to the China Earthquake Administration.

Ludian has a population of about 429,000. Over 12,000 houses have collapsed in the county and 30,000 have been damaged in the quake zone. Many of the houses that toppled in Ludian were made of brick and very old.

More than 2,500 troops were dispatched immediately to the disaster zone. On Monday, rescuers are digging through devastated homes looking for survivors.

China Earthquake Administration promoted its emergency reaction in the quake-affected area to Grade I, the highest level, on Monday morning.

The forecast has cautioned there will be thunderstorms and rain in the area in coming hours, so, the climatic condition will complicate efforts to bring water, food, tents and other relief supplies to survivors. Roads had collapsed and rescuers were forced to travel on foot.

On Sunday, the White House offered condolences on the lives loss due to the severe quake and said the country is ready to offer its help. Spokeswoman of National Security Council Bernadette Meehan in a statement said the United States offered sincere condolences to everyone who lost their loved ones in the August 3 quake in south-west China. She said the disaster response officials of US were in contact with their Chinese counterparts.