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China quake kills 32, destroys 258,000 homes

Chinese rescue teams carrying tents, quilts and sacks of rice rushed Sunday to reach survivors of an earthquake that killed at least 32 people, turned 258,000 homes into rubble and cracked reservoirs.

Chinese rescue teams carrying tents, quilts and sacks of rice rushed Sunday to reach survivors of an earthquake that killed at least 32 people, turned 258,000 homes into rubble and cracked reservoirs.

The 6.1-magnitude quake struck Sichuan province on Saturday along the same fault line as the May 12 earthquake that killed nearly 70,000.

Dozens of evacuees were assembled on a primary school field in Panzhihua, footage from state broadcaster China Central Television showed.

Wrapped in quilts, the evacuees, including children and the elderly, lay on plastic sheets and mats on the ground.

Saturday's quake killed 27 people in Sichuan and five in the neighbouring province of Yunnan, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The quake damaged major bridges and cracked three reservoirs, the agency said.

Another 467 people were injured after the earthquake hit 50 kilometres southeast of Panzhihua city in the southwestern corner of Sichuan.

About 152,000 people were evacuated and relief efforts were under way, despite being hampered by heavy rains and the region's rugged terrain, Xinhua said. It said 6,200 tents, 3,500 quilts and 25,000 kilograms of rice were sent to the quake zone.

Since the 7.9-magnitude temblor on May 12, the region has been hit by scores of aftershocks.

A woman who answered the phone at Sichuan provincial seismological bureau said the region was hit by about 300 aftershocks on Sunday morning. She declined to give her name, saying she was not authorized to speak to the media.

Later on Sunday, a 5.6 magnitude aftershock was recorded in the same location as Saturday's quake, the administration said in a separate statement posted on its website. It was not immediately clear what damage the aftershock caused.