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Three dead, scores missing after a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck southwest China in the early hours of Thursday

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A 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the town of Sichuan located in China has killed three persons and left many seriously injured.

Reports say the earthquake was registered in the town of Sichuan and according to the country’s Seismic Networks Center, it had a depth of 10 kilometres.

Local authorities issued an emergency alert for the earthquake.

The shallow earthquake struck southwest China in the early hours of Thursday, prompting the second-highest level of emergency response by rescuers in Sichuan province, state media said.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) put the earthquake’s magnitude at 5.4, but the China Seismic Networks Center measured it at 6.0. Both put it at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles).

It struck Luxian county about 120 kilometres southwest of the sprawling megacity Chongqing, which along with its surroundings is home to around 30 million people.

Luxian authorities said the seismic event had left “two dead, three seriously injured and 50 slightly injured, while 22 houses in the county collapsed.”

Dozens of houses were damaged and communications for tens of thousands of people were disrupted.

Despite the alert issued, the authorities downplayed the immediate threat of a larger aftershock.

“It is unlikely that there will be a larger earthquake in the area in the near future, but the aftershocks will continue for some time,” Du Bin, deputy head of the Sichuan Earthquake Administration, told reporters.

China Global Television Network ( CGTN ) confirmed the death toll, while other media shared images of buildings with large cracks caused by the earthquake.

The CGTN also shared security camera footage showing televisions and refrigerators shaking on the walls of houses when the earthquake struck, as ornaments smashed against floors and cracks ripped through buildings.

Bricks were strewn across roads and trees cut down in some areas as firefighters scratched debris from collapsed houses, the images showed. Residents were urged to stay out of their homes, state media reported, although footage showed there was little sense of widespread panic on the part of residents in an area of ​​high seismic activity.

The Xinhua News Agency said the city of Luzhou had dispatched emergency personnel to the area, without giving further details.

The Sichuan government said in a Weibo statement that several power lines had been disrupted and 62,000 homes were affected by power outages after the earthquake.

USGS said that “significant damage is likely and the disaster is potentially widespread,” in a preliminary assessment.

A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008 it left 87,000 people dead or missing.

Among them were thousands of children who died when poorly constructed school buildings collapsed, but the regime did not release an exact death toll as the problem took on a political dimension.

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