6.6-magnitude earthquake hits China’s southwestern Sichuan province, 46 dead

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A 6.6-magnitude earthquake with a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles) was reported southwest of Sichuan’s capital Chengduclose to 1 p.m. local time on Monday, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported.

The quake’s epicenter was about 43 kilometers (27 miles) southeast of Kangding, a city of around 100,000 people, according to the USGS.

At least 50 people were also injured and 16 other remain missing, CCTV reported.

Over a million residents in surrounding areas are estimated to have experienced moderate tremors in the aftermath of the quake, it added.

China activated a Level 3 emergency response and dispatched rescue workers to Luding County near the epicenter, according to China’s State Council. Chinese broadcaster CGTN said rescue workers were helping to clear roads blocked by landslides triggered by the quake.

Sichuan, a province of 84 million people, was already facing a very challenging summer before the powerful quake. In the last two months, the province has endured drought and its worst heatwaves in 60 years.

The landlocked area is prone to earthquakes because of the Langmenshan Fault which runs through Sichuan’s mountains.

A 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Sichuan in 2008 was one of the country’s most devastating. Almost 90,000 people were killed and tremors were felt in cities more than 1,450 kilometers (900 miles) away.Last year, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan, killing three people and injuring 60, according to state media at the time.

CNN’s Hannah Ritchie contributed reporting.

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