BEIJING – A magnitude 6.6
Some 3,000 soldiers, firefighters and other rescue personnel were dispatched to the affected area in Gansu province after the 7:45 a.m. quake, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Photos from the region, southeast of the provincial capital of Lanzhou, showed brick homes collapsed and others buried up to their roofs by landslides triggered by the temblor.
More than 1,200 homes collapsed and an additional 21,000 were damaged, local officials estimated.
More than 400 aftershocks had been reported by mid-afternoon.
Muddy roads were impeding rescue vehicles and the threat of heavy showers Monday night left survivors scrambling to find shelter. Downpours on Sunday triggered landslides that closed a key rail line in the region.