A strong earthquake hit China's rural but densely populated Yunnan province on Tuesday, killing at least 29 people, injuring 72 and leaving farmers homeless in foul weather, officials said from the quake-prone region.
The tremor struck during a torrential rainstorm, adding to survivors' misery and making rescue and relief work especially difficult in the rugged mountain province bordering Burma.A local official estimated the initial wave of tremors lasted a terrifying 15 minutes.
Many people in Wuding and Luquan counties perished when their houses collapsed in the earthquake, which registered 6.5 on the open-ended Richter scale, local and provincial officials said by telephone.
"Most were crushed to death in building collapses," a Wuding county official said.
"The epicenter was in a mountainous area, not in town, so the damage was not as extensive as it might have been. Mostly we've had single-story buildings collapse."
At least 29 people were killed and 72 injured, with one of the dead and three of the injured in the steel city of Panzhihua in the neighboring province of Sichuan, Xinhua news agency reported.