Another 179 people have been confirmed dead almost three days after a powerful earthquake devastated southwest China, bringing the overall toll to close to 600, local authorities said on Wednesday.
Nine people are still missing, according to the latest figures from the civil affairs department of Yunnan, the province which was hit by the 6.5 magnitude tremor on Sunday. Officials with the local quake relief headquarters attributed the sharp toll rise to delayed confirmation due to the inaccessibility and remoteness of many
quake-hit villages in the mountainous region. Among the reported deaths, 504 were in the worst-hit Ludian County and 72 in Qiaojia County. The official tally showed that in addition to the deaths, there were 2,401 people injured in the 6.5 magnitude quake. The earthquake, the strongest to strike the area in 14 years, occurred
at 4:30 p.m. Sunday (Beijing Time) with its epicenter in Longtoushan Township, Ludian County in Zhaotong City, affecting 1.08 million people in the cities of Zhaotong and Qujing.
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