At least seven people were killed when a strong earthquake struck southwestern China on Monday, state media reported, as violent tremors in a remote region damaged homes and left some areas without electricity. The Magnitude 6.6 quake hit around 26 miles southeast of the city of Kangding in Sichuan province at a depth of about six miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Tremors shook buildings in the provincial capital of Chengdu — where millions are confined to their homes under a strict COVID lockdown — and in the nearby megacity of Chongqing
The shocks also forced some power stations offline in the areas of Garze and Ya’an, the broadcaster said.
“I felt it quite strongly,” said Chen, a resident of Chengdu.
“Some of my neighbors on the ground floor said they felt it very noticeably,” she added. “But because Chengdu is currently under epidemic management, people aren’t allowed to leave their residential compounds, so many of them rushed out into their courtyards.”
A video posted online by the China Earthquake Networks Center showed boulders thundering down mountainsides in stricken Luding county, kicking up clouds of dust as tremors swayed roadside telephone wires.
State media reported that several aftershocks were recorded in nearby areas. A smaller Magnitude 4.6 tremor hit eastern Tibet less than an hour after the initial quake, according to the USGS.
Hundreds of rescue personnel were dispatched to the epicenter while workers attempted to clear roads blocked by landslides, according to state broadcaster CGTN.
A resident of Chongqing said the quake was “pretty noticeable” and that it had shaken the lights and furniture in his fifth-floor apartment.
“I was pretty scared,” he told AFP, “but it didn’t seem to faze people here.”
Earthquakes are fairly common in China, especially in the country’s seismically active southwest.
An 8.0-magnitude quake in 2008 in Sichuan’s Wenchuan country left tens of thousands dead and caused enormous damage.
At least four people were killed and dozens more injured after two earthquakes in southwestern China in June.
That month a shallow 6.1-magnitude quake hit a sparsely populated area about 60 miles west of Chengdu.
It was followed three minutes later by a second quake of magnitude 4.5 in a nearby county, where the deaths and injuries occurred.
Authorities in Chengdu extended the city’s virus lockdown on Sunday as they fight a COVID flare-up with hundreds of cases.
The region has also suffered a summer of extreme weather, with a record-breaking heatwave noticeably drying rivers in Chongqing.