Three people were killed and 71 others injured in a 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Friday morning.
The quake rocked Pishan County of Hotan Prefecture at 9:07 a.m., with the epicenter recorded at 37.6 degrees north and 78.2 degrees east, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC).
Shortly after the quake, the area was hit by smaller tremors measuring between 3.0 and 4.6 magnitude, according to the CENC.
The jolt, with a depth of 10 km, also damaged 12,000 houses, according to the publicity department of the Communist Party of China Xinjiang Committee.
About 66,000 people were evacuated, local authorities said.
Li Hua, a worker at a state-owned farm in Pishan, told Xinhua that he was left dizzied by a jolt that shook the floor of his fourth-floor home and lasted about a minute.
Train service in the quake zone was suspended while mechanics were sent to check the tracks and apparatus.
The Xinjiang government has rolled out 20 million yuan (3.2 million U.S. dollars) for disaster relief. About 1,500 tents, 2,000 quilts and 2,000 coats have been transported to the quake zone.
A medical team made up of 33 experienced doctors is on its way to the quake zone, the government said.
Armed Police officers are rushing to a village that could be the worst hit area.
Located in southernmost Xinjiang, Pishan is about 1,800 km from the regional capital of Urumqi and covers 39,700 square km. The epicenter is 7.5 km from the county seat.
With a population of 258,000, the county is mainly inhabited by people of Uygur ethnicity.