1 Sep 2013

Destructive China quake kills five

6:04 am on 1 September 2013

An earthquake has hit a remote part of southwest China near the popular tourist area of Shangri-La, killing five people and injuring 24.

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake toppled or damaged tens of thousands of homes in the mountainous area.

It also sparked landslides, blocked roads, trapped tourist buses and cut off communications.

State news agency Xinhua says the driver of a tourist bus died and three tourists were injured as falling rocks smashed into the vehicle.

Three other tourist buses were trapped by landslides.

State television has showed clouds of dust rising from landslides on green mountains and pieces of broken cement that had fallen from buildings, AFP reports.

Xinhua says the quake toppled 600 homes and damaged more than 55,000 others, forcing over 9000 local residents to relocate.

The earthquake, which was 10 kilometeres deep, was centred on Yunnan's Benzilan town.

It was the second quake in the area in four days, after a 5.1 magnitude quake on Wednesday.

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake in Sichuan province killed about 200 people earlier this year.