Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Deadly 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Rural Yunnan Province, Far Southwest China

Yunnan residents leave their homes after they felt the quake. Witnesses reported hearing  buildings vibrate as they shook.

(Photo : Weibo Breaking News) Yunnan residents leave their homes after they felt the quake. Witnesses reported hearing buildings vibrate as they shook.

Five people are dead and about 20 injured as a 6.4 magnitude earthquake rumbled through mountainous rural Yunnan province in far Southwest China bordering Myanmar late Tuesday.

Shaking could be felt as far as Kunming, the provincial capital of more than four million people. State media reported about 2.5 million people were directly affected by the tremor.

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Relief efforts began to take shape early Wednesday. More casualties were expected to be reported in the aftermath of the quake that sent residents running from their homes and caused some property damage. Houses shook for several seconds, with bricks and tiles falling to the ground and walls cracking in some of the single-story structures that predominate in the area.

The quake centered around Jinggu county, about 85 kilometers from Pu'er city. The area is well known for its giant tea plantations. It's home to more than 300,000 people. Many of them belong to ethnic Burmese or Vietnamese minorities.

The United States Geological Survey measured the quake at 6.4 on the Richter Scale. USGS said the quake was 10 kilometers deep, its epicenter located about 163 kilometers, or 100 miles, north-northwest of Yunjinghong. The China Earthquake Networks Centre recorded the quake at 6.6 magnitude.

About 1,000 People's Liberation Army troops and other first responders were on the scene setting up tents and providing material aid including blankets, food and relief supplies, according to state television.

The mountainous region bordering Myanmar, or Burma, Vietnam and Laos has a history of unstable geology. It stands at the crossroads of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates that created the expansive Himalaya mountain range.

While causing some casualties Tuesday, the toll so far was far less than an August 6.3 magnitude quake elsewhere in Yunnan. That event killed at least 60 people and destroyed 12,000 structures.

A 2008 earthquake in nearby Sichuan province killed up to 70,000 people. A 7.0 magnitude Yunnan earthquake in 1966 killed more than 600 people and leveled 12,000 structures.

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