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At least 74 people killed after earthquake hits southwestern China

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By AP
Rescuers transfer survivors across a river in Sichuan Province following the earthquake.
Rescuers transfer survivors across a river in Sichuan Province following the earthquake.   -   Copyright  Cheng Xueli/Xinhua via AP   -  

At least 74 people have been killed and 26 others remain missing after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake shook southwestern China.

The quake struck the province of Sichuan on Monday, triggering landslides and shaking buildings in the provincial capital Chengdu.

Power was knocked out and buildings damaged in the historic town of Moxi in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Garze, where 37 people were killed.

Images on state television showed rescue crews pulling a woman alive from a collapsed house in Moxi, where many of the buildings are constructed from a mix of wood and brick. Around 150 people were reported with varying degrees of injuries.

More than 50,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Sichuan, which sits on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, is regularly hit by earthquakes. Up to 21 million residents in the city are currently under a strict “zero-COVID” lockdown. The restrictions had prevented residents from leaving their buildings amid the earthquake tremors.

The earthquake follows a heat wave and drought that led to water shortages and power cuts due to Sichuan’s reliance on hydropower.

China’s deadliest earthquake in recent years was a 7.9-magnitude quake in 2008 that killed nearly 90,000 people in Sichuan. The temblor devastated towns, schools and rural communities, leading to a years-long effort to rebuild with more resistant materials.