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Strong earthquake of 6.8 magnitude strikes China’s Sichuan province; At least 30 dead

Beijing: A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck China’s Sichuan province on Monday, the strongest to hit the region since 2017, killing more than 30 people and shaking the provincial capital of Chengdu and more distant provinces.

Some roads and homes near the epicentre were damaged by landslides, while communications were down in at least one area, state television reported. No damage to dams and hydropower stations within 50 km (31 miles) of the epicentre was reported, although damage to the provincial grid had affected power to about 40,000 end-users.

The epicentre was at the town of Luding, the China Earthquake Networks Centre said, in the mountains about 226 km southwest of Chengdu. Earthquakes are common in the southwestern province of Sichuan, especially in its mountains in the west, a tectonically active area along the eastern boundary of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. In Luding, the quake was so strong it was hard for some people to remain standing, while cracks appeared on some houses, the China News Service reported.

Video clips on social media showed lights swinging while people rushed out of buildings into the streets. Sichuan’s provincial government said more than 30 people had died. At least four of those were in Luding. A total of 39,000 people live within 20 km of the epicentre and 1.55 million within 100 km, according to state television.