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Almost 60000 evacuated after China quake kills 19

12 August 2017

A 6.5-magnitude quake rattled southwest China late Tuesday, killing at least seven people, with up to 100 feared dead, according to a government estimate.

Over 70,000 people have been evacuated from the area affected by the 6.5-7.0-magnitude quake.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all efforts in the rescue operations while Prime Minister Li Keqiang urged the local government to assist the injured.

At least eight of the dead were tourists at Jiuzhaigou, which has a national park known for its spectacular waterfalls and karst formations, according to the disaster relief headquarters.

The local government of Aba prefecture, where the epicentre was located, said 1,680 private homes across Jiuzhaigou county's 17 townships suffered varying degrees of damage.

More than 60,000 tourists and local residents have also been moved to safety.

China is regularly hit by earthquakes, especially its mountainous western and southwestern regions.

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Two foreigners, a French man and a Canadian woman, are among the injured.

On the Sina Weibo micro-blogging website akin to Twitter, PM Modi said he was saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the natural disaster and added that the Indian people pray for the victims' families and hope those injured will recover swiftly, state-run CGTN TV reported.

Hundreds of soldiers and rescue personnel have been deployed to the Jiuzhaigou area, along with hundreds of vehicles, and dozens of sniffer dogs and devices to detect life under the rubble.

China's President Xi Jinping gave orders to rescue the injured victims, after the quake, which struck at around 9:20 pm on Tuesday.

Over 130,000 houses may be damaged, it added in a statement posted on its website, based on a preliminary analysis of the disaster in a remote region of Sichuan Province.

Several people contacted by AFP reported seeing some structures collapse.

The 2008 quake set off deadly landslides in the region, obliterating towns and damming rivers - creating menacing "quake lakes" that forced the evacuation of thousands downstream as the army worked to clear the blockages.

Almost 60000 evacuated after China quake kills 19