4 confirmed dead in Yunnan earthquake
Four people have been confirmed dead in an earthquake in southwest China's Yunnan province, according to local sources.
A total of 594 people were injured, and 167 of them seriously, in the quake which jolted Ludian county in Zhaotong city of Yunnan Tuesday night, according to Deng Xianpei, mayor of Zhaotong city.
He said the casualties are expected to rise because there were large number of serious injuries.
Hospitals have been overwhelmed with the injured and some had to be treated outside in the open.
More than 5,000 homes were flattened and thousands more damaged, said a spokesperson from the county government.
Many homes are now too dangerous to live in, said an unidentified local official in the county.
Residents were living in tents or sleeping outdoors, but summer temperatures were comfortable and supplies of drinking water and food were adequate, the official said.
President Hu Jintao urged governments at all levels to provide as much help as possible.
More than 7,000 tents have been sent to the disaster-hit villages.
Local officials said there had been some 92 aftershocks was still being carried out.
It was the third major quake that hit the Ludian county in a year. Two other quakes measuring 5.1 and 5.0 on the Richter scales struck the county on Nov. 15 and 26, 2003. Four people were killed and 120 others were injured in the two previous quakes.
With a population of 370,000, Ludian county, located in the east of Yunnan province, is among China's abject counties.