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China quake kills at least 15

A strong earthquake struck central China on Saturday, killing at least 15 people, injuring more than 450 and destroying hundreds of buildings, the government said.
Accompanied by her husband, a woman injured in an earthquake receives treatment at a hospital in Ruichang City, China, on Saturday. Zhang Wu / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Zhang Xuping and his family dashed out of their home as soon as they felt the ground shaking. Minutes later, their neighbor was killed and buildings near them collapsed as a strong earthquake rolled through their village in central China.

“I felt very strong shocks, lasting about six to seven seconds. We fled immediately,” Zhang said by phone Sunday, one day after the temblor struck, killing at least 15 people and injuring more than 450.

Most of the damage from the magnitude-5.7 quake occurred in Ruichang city and the popular resort town of Jiujiang in Jiangxi province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

In Hubei province, 78 students were injured when they were caught in a stampede during an evacuation, the news agency said. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed and thousands damaged, the agency said.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake had a magnitude of 5.5. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.

State television reported Sunday there had been 200 aftershocks in the area but did not provide details. Scores of residents were shown camping outside, some huddled in sleeping bags.

Zhang, 42, said his home in a village near Ruichang had cracks running down the walls. Authorities told villagers not to stay indoors after the quake but had not provided any more information or assistance, he said.

“We cut wood to build shelters,” Zhang said. “All of the people in the village stayed outdoors last night.”

A total of 30,000 boxes each of bottled water, instant noodles and biscuits were delivered to the worst-hit areas, the state newscast said.