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At least 19 people have died and almost 250 have been injured after an earthquake in a mountainous area of China.

Eight tourists were among the dead, Chinese state TV said. Forty of the injured are said to be in a serious condition.

The 6.5-magnitude quake struck a sparsely populated area late on Tuesday, 120 miles (200 km) northwest of the city of Guangyuan in Sichuan province.

Most of the deaths and injuries were recorded in Zhangzha township, close to the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve – popular with tourists for its spectacular waterfalls and karst landscapes.

A woman who was injured being treated at Mianyang Central Hospital

Image: A woman who was injured being treated at Mianyang Central Hospital

As the quake knocked out power and phone networks, rescuers dug through rubble with their hands.

“People were rushing out, some people were screaming,” said Yang Jie, who owns a hostel in Zhangzha.

She had been at a restaurant, adding: “On our way home, there were rocks falling down from the hills on both sides of the road. We couldn’t get through on the phone because there was no signal.”

Shops were closed and houses had been “damaged beyond recognition”, she said.

Tourists wait to be evacuated after an earthquake in China's Sichuan province

Image: Tourists wait to be evacuated following the earthquake in Sichuan province

The government of Sichuan said 45,000 tourists had been evacuated, with 1,000 more waiting to leave.

Another earthquake struck near the border with Kazakhstan on Wednesday morning, China’s official Xinhua news agency said, injuring 32 people, two of them seriously.

The agency said more than 1,000 houses had been damaged in a sparsely populated area of Xinjiang region.

World News – Breaking international news and headlines | Sky News

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