BEIJING — A series of earthquakes collapsed houses and triggered landslides today in a remote, mountainous part of southwestern China where damage was preventing rescues and communications were disrupted. At least 64 deaths have been reported.
The quakes started with a 5.6-magnitude shock before 11:30 a.m. local time along the borders of Guizhou and Yunnan provinces, and another equally big quake struck shortly after noon, followed by more than 60 aftershocks, Chinese and U.S. government seismologists said. Though of moderate strength, the quakes were shallow, which often causes more damage.
Hardest hit was Yiliang County, where all but one of the deaths occurred, according to the Yunnan provincial government’s official website. Another 715 people in the county were injured, the websites said.
Yiliang county’s high population density, weak building construction, and propensity for landslides were blamed for the relatively high death toll.