At least 25 people were killed and 250 injured in an earthquake that struck a remote area of southwest China near the border with Burma on Thursday, state media reported.
The tremor reduced hundreds of houses to rubble, left some desperate residents trapped under buildings and triggered power cuts in the surrounding area of China, though no casualties were reported in Burma.
The epicentre of the 5.4-magnitude quake, which struck at 12:58 pm, was located about 225 kilometres west-southwest of the ancient city of Dali in Yunnan province, the US Geological Survey reported.
The quake hit at a depth of 34 kilometres, the USGS said, though Chinese seismologists put the depth at just 10 kilometres.
The death toll had risen to 25, with 250 injured, 134 of them seriously, Xinhua news agency said, citing local authorities.
The quake toppled the homes of 1,039 families and seriously damaged nearly 5,000 others, mostly in the border town of Yingjiang, it said.
Witnesses told the news agency that parts of a supermarket and hotel had caved in, and that people were buried in the debris.
"The quake happened shortly after I finished my lunch. The house totally collapsed within only a few seconds," local reporter Miao Bin told Xinhua.
State television footage showed people on stretchers out on the streets, some hooked to drips, and survivors being pulled out of debris.
The quake triggered power outages in Yingjiang county, Xinhua said, adding that seven aftershocks had been recorded.
Nearly 1,000 soldiers have been sent to join the rescue operation, and authorities have dispatched thousands of tents, blankets, clothes and other items, it said.
In Burma, official sources said no casualties had been reported yet from the tremor.
A massive earthquake rocked the neighbouring province of Sichuan in May 2008, leaving nearly 87,000 people dead or missing.