Magnitude-6.1 earthquake in southwest China kills at least 367 people afternoon Aug. 3. Expect major transport, communication, and utility disruptions.
Local officials report that a shallow magnitude 6.1-earthquake that struck southwest Yunnan Province around 1630 Aug. 3 has left at least 367 people dead and nearly 2,000 others injured. The epicenter of the earthquake was near Ludian in the Zhaotong region (map), located about 250 km (155 miles) northwest of Kunming; all of the casualties have been reported in that vicinity. The tremor, which had a depth of 10 km (6 miles), apparently knocked out communication and power lines; the casualty toll may rise as rescue workers reach more towns in the remote area. Landslides have blocked multiple roads, further hindering relief efforts. Initial reports indicate that many homes collapsed in the earthquake.
Strong aftershocks are likely in the coming days and may exacerbate existing disruptions. It will likely take work crews several days or even weeks to repair the electrical and telecommunication lines.
Avoid nonessential travel to the area until the situation stabilizes. Emergency workers will be given priority, so those involved in essential travel may face flight and/or ground travel delays. Those in the area should be prepared to face potentially multiday electrical, telecommunication, and water disruptions. Consider vacating structures until authorities inspect them for damage and deem them safe from aftershocks.