China quake triggers landslides, kills 180

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YA'AN, China -- Residents huddled outdoors last night in a town near the epicenter of a powerful earthquake that struck the steep hills of China's southwestern Sichuan province, leaving at least 180 people dead and more than 11,000 injured.

Saturday morning's earthquake triggered landslides and disrupted phone and power connections in mountainous Lushan county five years after a devastating quake caused widespread damage. The village of Longmen was hit particularly hard, with authorities saying nearly all the buildings had been destroyed in a frightening, minute-long shaking.

In nearby Ya'an town, where aftershocks could be felt nearly 20 hours after the quake, residents sat in groups outside convenience stores watching the news on television sets. Wang Xing, 14, sat with her family on chairs by the road in the cool night air, a blanket on her lap.

Wang and her relatives said they planned to spend the night in their cars. "We don't feel safe sleeping at home tonight," said Wang, a student. She said the quake left cracks on the walls of her family's house. "It was very scary when it happened. I ran out of my bed and out of the house. I didn't even have my shoes on."

Along the main roads leading to the worst-hit county of Lushan, ambulances, fire engines and military trucks piled high with supplies waited in long lines, some turning back to try other routes when roads were impassable.

Rescuers turned the square outside Lushan County Hospital into a triage center, where medical personnel bandaged bleeding victims, according to footage on China Central Television. Rescuers dynamited boulders that had fallen across roads to reach Longmen and other damaged areas lying farther up the mountain valleys, state media reported.

The Sichuan province emergency command center said at least 180 people had died and 11,227 people were injured. In the jurisdiction of Ya'an, which administers Lushan, 19 people were reported missing, the China Earthquake Administration said.

The quake -- measured by the earthquake administration at magnitude-7.0 and by the U.S. Geological Survey at 6.6 -- struck the steep hills of Lushan county shortly after 8 a.m., when many people were at home, sleeping or having breakfast.

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