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Death toll from quake in south China rises to 398

By The Associated Press

This article was published August 4, 2014 at 7:21 a.m.

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This photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, shows the quake-hit Longtoushan Town of Ludian County in Zhaotong City, southwest China's Yunnan Province on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Rescuers dug through shattered homes Monday looking for survivors of the strong earthquake in southern China's Yunnan province that toppled thousands of homes on Sunday, killing hundreds and injuring more than a thousand people.

KUNMING, China — Rescuers dug through shattered homes Monday looking for survivors of a strong earthquake in southern China's Yunnan province as the death toll rose to at least 398 people, with more than 1,800 injured.

About 12,000 homes collapsed when the quake struck Sunday afternoon in impoverished Ludian county, about 230 miles northeast of Yunnan's capital, Kunming, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Ma Yaoqi, an 18-year-old volunteer in the quake zone, said by phone that at least half of the buildings had collapsed on the road from the city center of Zhaotong to the hardest hit town of Longtou. The rest of the buildings were damaged, she said.

"I saw dead bodies being wrapped in quilts and carried away," said Ma, who had arrived with 20 other volunteers Monday. "Some were wrapped with small quilts. Those must be kids."

Overhead footage of the quake zone shot by state broadcaster CCTV showed older houses flattened but newer multistory buildings still standing.

The magnitude-6.1 quake struck at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at a depth of 6 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. China's earthquake monitoring agency put the magnitude at 6.5.

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