Magnitude 6.1 Earthquake Kills 27, Injures Dozens in China

Chinese rescue teams carrying tents, quilts and sacks of rice rushed Sunday to reach survivors of an earthquake that killed at least 27 people, turned tens of thousands of homes into rubble and cracked reservoirs.

The 6.1-magnitude quake struck Sichuan province on Saturday along the same fault line as the May 12 earthquake that killed nearly 70,000.

Dozens of evacuees were assembled on a primary school field in Panzhihua, footage from state broadcaster China Central Television showed. Wrapped in quilts, the evacuees, including children and the elderly, lay on plastic sheets and mats on the ground.

Saturday's quake killed 22 people in Sichuan and five in the neighboring province of Yunnan, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The quake damaged major bridges and cracked three reservoirs, the agency said.

Another 362 people were injured and three were missing after the earthquake hit 31 miles southeast of Panzhihua city in the southwestern corner of Sichuan on Saturday afternoon, the report said.

About 40,000 people were evacuated and relief efforts were under way, despite being hampered by heavy rains and the region's rugged terrain, Xinhua said. It said 6,200 tents, 3,500 quilts and 55,000 pounds of rice were sent to the quake zone.

Since the 7.9-magnitude temblor on May 12, the region has been hit by scores of aftershocks.

A woman who answered the phone at Sichuan provincial seismological bureau said the region was hit by about 300 aftershocks on Sunday morning. She declined to give her name, saying she was not authorized to speak to the media.

Later on Sunday, a 5.6 magnitude aftershock was recorded in the same location as Saturday's quake, the administration said in a separate statement posted on its Web site. It was not immediately clear what damage the aftershock caused.