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August 22, 2017

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[Update] Southwest China hit by 7.0-magnitude earthquake, 19 killed

BEIJING - The death toll from a powerful earthquake that hit China's south-western Sichuan province rose to 19, with 247 injured, local authorities said on Wednesday.

The magnitude-6.5 quake struck Tuesday night some 280 kilometres north of Chengdu, the U.S. Geological Survey said. State media reported the quake as having a magnitude 7.0.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for all-out efforts to rapidly organise relief work and rescue the injured people after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Southwest China's Sichuan province.

Authorities should check the impact of the earthquake, evacuate and settle visitors and local people, and reduce death and injuries as much as possible, Xi said.

As the earthquake took place during the flood period and tourism season, authorities should enhance meteorological early warning and geological monitoring to guard against other disasters and try their best to protect people's lives and property, Xi added.

Premier Li Keqiang also urged local authorities to go all out in relief and monitoring work.

China's cabinet, the State Council, has sent a national work team to the disaster-hit area to guide relief work. Local governments have activated top-level emergency response procedures.

Meanwhile, there were no initial reports of casualties as a 6.6-magnitude earthquake jolted Jinghe county, in the Bortala Mongolian autonomous prefecture of Xinjiang, at 7:27 am Wednesday (2327 GMT Tuesday), according to the China Earthquake Networks Centre.

Wednesday's quake struck a sparsely populated area of the far north-western Xinjiang region, near the Kazakhstan border.

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