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Southwestern China suffers deadly earthquake

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A deadly earthquake ripped through China's southwestern Sichuan Province Saturday morning, killing at least 132 people, injuring upwards of 5,000, and leaving still more people trapped in the rubble, the New York Times reported.

The earthquake happened at 8:02 a.m. local time in Lushan County near Ya'an city, Firstpost said. The quake's epicenter had a depth of 7.5 miles according to the U.S. Geological Survey, FistPost said. The China Earthquake Networks Center said the quake was a magnitude 7.0, the New York Times reported. Since it was relatively shallow, the quake was more destructive, the New York Times said.

Saturday's quake occurred along the same fault line of a devastating earthquake that left 87,000 people dead or missing in a mountainous region northeast of Chengdu, the provincial capital, back in 2008, the New York Times said.

The state news agency, Xinhua, received information from a hospital official who said crowds of injured people were had gathered in front of the county hospital on Saturday afternoon.
Premier Li Keqiang, along with other senior officials, flew by helicopter from Beijing to Sichuan Saturday to tour the damaged area and to visit the injured at the county's main hospital, the New York Times reported. "The current most urgent issue is grasping the first 24 hours after the quake's occurrence, the golden time for saving lives, to take scientific rescue measures and save people's lives," Xinhua quoted Mr. Li as saying.

Landslides have slowed down rescue efforts in the area, and concerns have been raised over two barrier lakes that have formed as a result of two debris-blocked waterways, the New York Times said.

"Now the houses on both sides of the street have become dangerous buildings," Zhang Linpeng, a resident, told the Sichuan news service. "I've seen people trapped in the ruins, and some people died. Many of the injured have been pulled out." Firefighters in Lushan were able to rescue 27 survivors from several collapsed buildings, the New York Times said.

Ya'an has a population of 1.5 million, and is located roughly 75 miles from Chengdu, the New York Times reported.

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