BEIJING: Two people were killed when a shallow earthquake struck southwestern China in the early hours of Thursday, triggering the second-highest level of emergency response by rescuers in Sichuan province, state media said.
The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 5.4 but the China Earthquake Networks Centre measured it at magnitude 6.0. Both put it at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres (six miles).
It struck around 120 kilometres southwest of the sprawling megacity of Chongqing, which along with its surrounding area is home to around 30 million people.
China Global Television Network (CGTN) said the local government had confirmed two deaths, without specifying where they had been killed or providing further details.
The Xinhua news agency said Luzhou City had sent emergency personnel to the area, without elaborating.
USGS said that "significant damage is likely and the disaster is potentially widespread", in a preliminary assessment.
A powerful 7.9-magnitude quake in Sichuan province in 2008 left 87,000 people dead or missing.
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