Seven dead in southwest China earthquake: state media

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At least seven people were killed when a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck southwestern China on Monday, state media reported.

Initial surveys showed that a number of towns in Sichuan province had sustained "serious damage to housing due to mountain landslides" while telecommunication lines had been cut off in some areas, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

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The quake shortly before 1 p.m. (0500 GMT) Monday hit around 43 kilometers (26 miles) southeast of the city of Kangding in Sichuan province at a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the US Geological Survey.

State media reported that contact lines with Moxi, a town of around 7,000 people near the epicenter, were severed in the aftermath of the quake.

Residents of the provincial capital Chengdu and the nearby megacity of Chongqing told AFP that tremors there had shaken buildings and displaced furniture.

More than 500 rescue personnel have been sent to the epicenter, according to state broadcaster CGTN.

State media reported several aftershocks in nearby areas.

Earthquakes are fairly common in Sichuan, where an 8.0-magnitude quake in 2008 in Wenchuan county left tens of thousands dead and caused enormous damage.

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