BEIJING (April 20, 2013)--The death toll was rising Saturday in China's Sichuan Province after a powerful earthquake.
At least 156 people were killed and more than 5,500 injured, the China Earthquake Administration said.
The agency set the magnitude at 7.0, while the U.S. Geological Survey puts it at the 6.6.
The quake struck the steep hills of Lushan county shortly after 8 a.m. toppling buildings, many of them older brick structures.
Photos posted online showed people ran into the streets in their underwear and wrapped in blankets.
Lushan is home to 1.5 million people.
Known for its mountains, the area is near a well-known preserve for pandas.
A man who answered the phone at the Ya'an city government said telecommunications were cut and that medical and rescue teams are on the way.
The area lies near the same geological fault where the devastating 7.9-magnitude quake struck in May 2008, leaving more than 90,000 people dead or missing and presumed dead.