Yunnan quake expected to take heavy toll
Hundreds of military personnel and rescue workers sent to zone
A 6.6-magnitude earthquake in Jinggu county, Yunnan province, left at least one dead and 19 injured last night, state media reported.
The China Earthquake Networks Centre said the quake was 5km deep and struck at 9.49pm.
Xinhua reported that residents in the provincial capital of Kunming also felt tremors.
The China Earthquake Administration said the quake was serious and heavy casualties and damage were expected, according to Xinhua. The Jinggu government confirmed late last night that at least one person was dead.
The US Geological Survey said the earthquake measured magnitude 6.0 and was at a depth of 10.1km.
A woman at the Caizhan Business Hotel in Jinggu said she was a Yunnan native and had never felt an earthquake so strong.
"It was very scary, the main light in the foyer went out. I immediately hid under a big table," she said.
A man at the Haitian Hotel, also in the county, said the hotel shook but the structure remained intact and all guests were safe.
"The hotel will be fine because it was built with this in mind, but I'm not sure how ordinary homes [will fare]," he said.
A 25-year-old hotel worker in Puer , about 80km from Jinggu, said she felt the quake but it did not seem very serious.
A state television reporter in the city said people fled buildings and were camping out in anticipation of aftershocks, Associated Press reported.
State media said on social media that hundreds of military personnel and emergency response workers were sent within hours to the quake zone.