Deadly 7.0 earthquake hits near tourist area in China

A massive earthquake struck a mountainous region of southwestern China on Tuesday, killing at least 13 people and injuring 175 others, officials said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a rapid response to the area in the Sichuan province, where the magnitude 7.0 quake hit.

The epicenter was close to the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve, a favorite tourist destination.

At least six of the dead were tourists, and 28 of the injured were in serious condition, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Rescuers work at a tourist site in Zhangzha in Jiuzhaigou county in southwestern China's Sichuan province on Wednesday.

Rescuers work at a tourist site in Zhangzha in Jiuzhaigou county in southwestern China’s Sichuan province on Wednesday.

(Zheng Lei/AP)

The Sichuan government said at least 100 tourists were trapped in the area by a landslide.

Power and phone service in the region were cut off as a result of the quake.

Chinese state news said more than 30,000 stranded tourists at Jiuzhaigou were being relocated to safety with help from tour buses and private vehicles.

“The tremors were very strong,” a woman in the town of Jiuzhaigou who gave only Wang as her name told The Associated Press.

She said the damage in the town center seemed minimal, other than the power being out.

“People from other regions are pretty frightened,” the woman added.

Train service in the area, known for its stunning waterfalls and rock formations, was suspended, according to reports.

On Wednesday morning, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck in far northwestern China, 1,360 miles away. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

With News Wire Services

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