(SICHUAN, China) — A major earthquake hit China’s Sichuan province early Saturday morning, killing over 150 people and injuring thousands more.
The earthquake struck just after 8 a.m. in the hills of Sichuan province, in China’s southwest. The epicenter was near the city of Lushan, home to some 124,000 people.
The quake toppled buildings, triggered landslides and disrupted phone and power service, causing mass confusion in a city that had only recently woken up. Many were still in their bathrobes, according to ABC’s Gloria Riviera.
The earthquake, was powerful, and measured at magnitude 6.6 according to the US Geological Survey. China’s seismological bureau measured it slightly higher, a 7. Aftershocks were felt throughout the morning, measuring between magnitude 4.5 up to magnitude 5, according to USGS spokesperson Jana Pursley.
The death toll rose throughout the morning, and is expected to rise further.
“The current most urgent issue is grasping the first 24 hours since the quake’s occurrence, the golden time for saving lives,” said Premier Li Keqiang, according to BBC News.
This isn’t the first time the province has been hit by a terrible earthquake. In 2008 Sichuan was hit with a massive earthquake that left 90,000 people dead or missing.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Rafael Romo and Patrick Gillespie, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, Holly Yan and Euan McKirdy, CNN Newswire