A powerful earthquake hit China's southwestern Sichuan province on late Tuesday (8 August) leaving at least 13 people dead and injuring nearly 200 others. Several people are also reported missing.

The magnitude seven earthquake's epicentre was near Jiuzhaigou National Park, a popular tourist destination in the country. The China Earthquake Administration has warned of aftershocks that can reach magnitude six.

The earthquake hit Jiuzhaigou county at 9.19pm local time on Tuesday (2.19pm BST), striking at a depth of 20km, Xinhua news agency quoted the China Earthquake Networks Center as saying. The news agency reported that at least five of those dead in the earthquake were tourists to the national park.

The government of Aba prefecture, where the park is located, reportedly said there were nearly 38,799 visitors at the park at the time of the quake. Of these, more than 31,000 tourists were moved to safe places. The park has temporarily been closed for tourists.

Hong Kong's immigration department has confirmed that three of their nationals are missing following the quake, the South China Morning Post wrote.

Rescue and relief work is underway in the sparsely populated area, which witnessed nearly two dozen deaths over the weekend due to landslides triggered by heavy rainfall.

The China Earthquake Administration said that nearly 107 aftershocks were detected as of 10.30pm Tuesday and more could be felt in the coming days.

Sichuan is an earthquake-prone region and an 8.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the region in May 2008 had killed more than 80,000 people. In 2013, another 7.0-magnitude quake hit Lushan, killing 196.

China earthquake
Chinese paramilitary police carry a survivor after a magnitude 7 earthquake hit Jiuzhaigou county in the southwestern Sichuan province on Tuesday, 8 August nightReuters/Stringer