The quakes toppled thousands of homes and sent boulders cascading across roads in a region of small farms and mines near the border between Guizhou and Yunnan provinces.
Thousands have been misplaced because of the double quake and have to make due with make-shift homes made from cardboard. Photo Credit: Photo News
Thousands of cattle have been killed when sheds collapsed.
Rescuers are battling blocked roads and downed communications while searching for survivors as the death toll rises to 89.
Scores of people were leaving their homes in the mountainous area, carrying their belongings amid fears of further aftershocks as volunteers with supplies streamed in the opposite direction.
Some 820 people were injured and 201,000 displaced after two 5.6-magnitude quakes struck the resource rich but impoverished region.
Families staying in tents said they feared their homes were no longer safe.
“The house kept shaking and as I have four children, I couldn’t stay there any longer,” said a man surnamed Qing.
“We experienced the earthquake and it was terrifying.”
A 12-year-old schoolgirl named Xiaoli said she feared returning to her school, which was damaged during the quake. “We don’t want to go back,” she said.
The death toll may yet rise because of crippled infrastructure and the onset of rain which is said to last 3 days, making rescue efforts extremely difficult and dangerous.
The US Geological Survey said the first quake struck at 11.20 am local time at a depth of around 10 kilometres, the second around an hour later.
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