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5.9-magnitude earthquake strikes southwest China; 4 dead

By David Simpson, for CNN
updated 1:34 AM EDT, Sun September 1, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Four dead, 10 injured in early reports
  • Quake topples 600 residential units, damages 55,000 in Yunnan Province
  • 9,200 people forced to relocate
  • Same remote region was hit by a quake on Wednesday

(CNN) -- A 5.9-magnitude earthquake killed at least four people Saturday morning in southwestern China, state media reported.

Officials reported 10 injuries as emergency teams began to respond, the Xinhua News Agency said.

The state-owned news agency quoted Yunnan provincial officials as saying that 600 residential units collapsed. An additional 55,000 residential units were damaged, and 9,200 people had been forced to relocate, Xinhua reported.

The quake -- with a depth of 10 kilometers -- hit in remote areas near the border of the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Roads were blocked in some villages by boulders rolling down mountains, and 17 people on three tourist buses were trapped by landslides, Xinhua said.

The Civil Affairs Ministry in Yunnan province was sending tents and clothing, Xinhua said.

The epicenter was near Benzilan Township, the USGS reported.

"We are heading to Benzilan," Liao Wencai, vice secretary of the Deqen County Committee of the Communist Party of China, told Xinhua. "The telecommunication there has been cut off, and many residents cannot be reached by mobile phone."

Xinhua reported it reached a Benzilan resident who said people "rushed outdoors hastily" because of the strength of the quake, but houses there did not collapse.

On Wednesday, a 5.1-magnitude earthquake hit the same region.

CNN's Larry Register and Kevin Wang contributed to this report.

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