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Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Monday, 4 June 2007 11:39 UK

China quake leaves many homeless

Evacuated earthquake victims in Pu'er on 3/06/07 (photo from Xinhua news agency)
Many people's homes are unsafe following the quake

Tens of thousands of people spent the night in the open after being forced to flee their homes in south-west China because of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake.

Officials said 120,000 people had to evacuate their homes in the province of Yunnan after Sunday morning's quake.

Three people were killed and 300 were injured in the earthquake, which had its epicentre in the city of Pu'er.

Buildings collapsed and power lines came down as the area was struck by a series of aftershocks.

Thousands of tents, blankets and clothing have been sent to the stricken area, officials said.

More than 50 rescue workers were also on their way, Xinhua news agency reported.

One official told the AFP news agency that 20,000 locals had been drafted in to help with the rescue effort.

'Too strong'

The earthquake occurred at 0534 (2134 GMT Saturday), hitting the 30,000-strong population of Pu'er's old city and surrounding areas.

Dozens of aftershocks followed, and tremors were felt up to 200km (120 miles) away.

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The dead included a four-year-old, who was crushed when his family home collapsed, Xinhua said. His mother was rescued.

One Pu'er resident told Reuters news agency that the earthquake woke her up.

"I tried to get up but the tremor was too strong. It cracked the window panes," Li, an office worker, said.

The quake also caused homes to collapse, damaged roads and telephone lines, and cut power and water supplies, local media reported.

China's leadership asked local officials "to mobilise all resources available to treat the injured and minimise the losses of lives and property of the public," Xinhua said.



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