BEIJING — A powerful earthquake struck the steep hills of China’s southwestern Sichuan province Saturday, leaving at least 124 people dead and more than 2,600 injured, nearly five years after a devastating quake wreaked widespread damage across the region.
Saturday’s quake, while not as destructive as that in 2008, toppled buildings, triggered landslides and disrupted phone and power connections in mountainous Lushan county. The village of Longmen was hit particularly hard, with authorities saying nearly all the buildings there had been destroyed in a frightening minute-long shaking by the quake.
Rescuers turned the square outside the Lushan County Hospital into a triage center, where medical personnel bandaged bleeding victims, according to footage on China Central Television. Rescuers dynamited boulders that had fallen across roads to reach Longmen and other damaged areas lying farther up the mountain valleys, state media reported.
The China Earthquake Administration said at least 124 people had died. The government of Ya’an city, which administers Lushan, said in a statement that more than 2,600 people were injured, 330 of them severely.
The quake, measured by the earthquake administration at magnitude-7.0 and the U.S. Geological Survey at 6.6, struck shortly after 8 a.m.