Nearly 60,000 evacuated after China quake kills 19

August 10, 2017

An injured woman arrives at Mianyang Central Hospital in Mianyang, China's southwestern Sichuan province, after an 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck the province. (AFP)

China on Wednesday evacuated nearly 60,000 people in its mountainous southwest after a strong earthquake killed at least 19, rattling a region where memories of a 2008 seismic disaster remain fresh.

The 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan province late on Tuesday, tearing cracks in mountain highways, triggering landslides, damaging buildings and sending panicked residents and tourists fleeing into the open.

The provincial government said Wednesday afternoon that most of the tourists -- many stranded at a popular national park near the epicentre -- have been evacuated after spending a nervous night out in the open as more than 1,000 aftershocks rippled across the region.

Locals will also be moved to safer ground, according to the authorities.