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Powerful earthquake hits China; USGS warns casualties possible

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said a strong earthquake has hit Sichuan province in southwestern China. USGS warned there could be damage and casualties.

Reuters reports at least one person has died and that multiple people were rescued from building rubble.

The USGS says the earthquake hit late Monday about 12 miles from the city of Changning. It says it was centered at a fairly shallow depth of 6 miles. Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage to buildings and infrastructure.

Video posted to social media appeared to show people evacuating buildings and debris littering the streets after the quake.

An aftershock measuring magnitude 5.2 later hit near the same area, the USGS said.

The Beijing Youth Daily said some people had been injured, but that could not be immediately confirmed. The emergency management ministry said firefighters have been sent to the area as rescuers.

A 1976 earthquake centered in the northeastern city of Tangshan killed at least 250,000 people. China's worst earthquake in recent years struck the mountainous western portion of Sichuan province in 2008, killing nearly 90,000 people.