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Two strong quakes hit southwest China, at least one person dead

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BEIJING (Reuters) – Two strong earthquakes shook the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan on Monday, killing at least one person in a part of the country frequently affected by strong tremors.

The first magnitude 5.9 quake was followed around 30 minutes later by one registering 5.2, both at a depth of 10 km (six miles) and centred near Changning county, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Chinese state media said shaking was felt in major cities in the region, including in the Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu and the metropolis of Chongqing.

The China Earthquake Administration said there were several aftershocks.

Pictures posted by state media on their social media accounts showed cracks in some buildings and people rushing into the streets in some cities in Sichuan.

State television said rescuers had reached the epicentre – a largely rural area – and had pulled some people out of rubble alive already. At least one person so far has died, the report added, without giving details.

A huge quake in Sichuan in May 2008 killed almost 70,000 people.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Gareth Jones and Hugh Lawson)

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