A 6.5-magnitude earthquake rattled southwest China late Tuesday with up to 100 feared dead, according to a government estimate.
Five people have been confirmed dead and more than 60 were injured in the quake, the official Xinhua News Agency said, including 30 who were in critical condition.
But China’s National Commission for Disaster Reduction estimated that as many as 100 people may have perished, based on 2010 census data of the mountainous, sparsely populated region.
It also stated that over 130,000 houses may have been damaged in a statement posted on its website, based on a preliminary analysis of the disaster in a remote region of Sichuan province.
The quake occurred around 9.20 pm (1320 GMT), not far from the site of a massive 8.0-magnitude earthquake that struck in 2008 leaving 87,000 people dead or missing.
Its epicentre was 284 kilometres (176 miles) north of the provincial capital Chengdu and struck at a depth of 10 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.
The affected region, Jiuzhaigou county, includes one of the country’s most famous national parks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for karst formations and lakes.
More than 38,000 people visited the tourist site on Tuesday, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Some houses at the scenic spot collapsed following the quake and authorities were organising young people to help evacuate residents, a staff worker at the park told Xinhua.