updated 6/3/2007 5:02:55 AM ET 2007-06-03T09:02:55

A strong earthquake shook southwest China’s Yunnan province early Sunday, killing at least three and injuring hundreds and forcing the evacuation of 120,000 people, state media reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 and hit about 1,470 miles southwest of Beijing.

At least three people died and more than 290 were injured, 15 seriously, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. One of the dead was a 5-year-old boy, who was crushed by debris, state television reported. The boy’s parents were also trapped but were rescued by locals.

The local seismological bureau had recorded 233 aftershocks by 2 p.m., the strongest with a magnitude of 5.1, said an official with the bureau, who gave only his surname, Ma.

The earthquake caused several houses to collapse and damaged the communications network in the area, making it difficult for residents to make phone calls, Xinhua reported. Roads, water and power supplies were also affected.

The temblor could be felt as far as 190 miles away, Xinhua said.

The evacuation of 120,000 residents was ordered after many buildings were deemed to be unsafe, Ma said. He said the seismological bureau was among many offices and homes in the area where the walls had cracked.

Rescue teams with thousands of tents, quilts and other relief supplies were rushing to the area, Xinhua reported.

Pu’er City, near the epicenter of the quake, is located in southwest Yunnan province and shares borders with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. It is prone to strong earthquakes, with 20 temblors above magnitude 5.0 hitting the area since 1990, Xinhua said.

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