Graphics shows a 5.8-magnitude earthquake hits Yingjiang County in southwest China's Yunnan Province on March 10, 2011, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.
KUNMING, March 10 (Xinhua) -- At least 24 people were killed and 207 others injured in a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that jolted Yingjiang County in southwest China's Yunnan Province around noon on Thursday.
The earthquake has toppled 1,264 houses or apartments and left 17,658 others seriously damaged, mainly in the county seat near the border with Myanmar, said Zhao Yunshan, director with the county government's press office.
More than 127,100 people have been evacuated to nearby shelters, an official with the Ministry of Civil Affairs said late Thursday.
Over 80 percent of the homes in Lameng Village, the epicenter, collapsed during the quake, but no serious casualties but only a few slight injuries were reported in the village, Zhao said.
Four students were among those killed, he said, without giving further details.
The epicenter, with a depth of 10 kilometers, was monitored at 24.7 degrees north latitude and 97.9 degrees east longitude, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center(CENC).
Witnesses said people were buried under debris and part of a supermarket and a hotel caved in.
The tremor triggered a power outage but telecommunication service remained normal in Yingjiang, according to Wei Gang, head of the county government.
The earthquake, the largest of more than 1,200 minor tremors over the last two months in the region, is believed to have caused serious damage and loss, said Liu Jie, a director with the earthquake forecast department in the China Earthquake Networks Center.
Altogether seven aftershocks, measuring up to 4.7 degrees on the Richter Scale, has jolted the county since the first tremor.
Between 1991 and 2008, eight earthquakes registering higher than 5 magnitude on the Richter Scale hit the county, about 700 kilometers west of provincial capital Yunnan, said Chen Jianmin, director of China Earthquake Administration.
A Magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck the county in August 2008, leaving three people dead and 106 injured, said CENC researcher Sun Shihong.
Nearly 1,000 soldiers have been sent to join the rescue operation.
Provincial governor Qin Guangrong called upon relevant authorities to save injured people, evacuate disaster-hit residents and calculate casualties and economic losses.
The provincial disaster-relief and civil affairs authorities have launched an emergency response plan.
The National Committee of Disaster Reduction, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Yunnan's provincial government have dispatched 9,700 tents, 13,000 quilts, 13,000 clothes and other materials to the quake-hit region.
State-level and provincial authorities have sent working groups to Yingjiang.