Three buildings are reported to have collapsed in Wenzhou, in the east of China's Zhejiang province.

Eight people are reproted to have been killed, and around 20 remain trapped in the rubble, state news agency Xinhua reported. Five people are reported to have been rescued.

The three buildings collapsed at around 8am (local time) on Thursday (2 February) in Baizhangji. The five storey buildings were filled with people, sources with the local government told the news agency.

A massive rescue operation is reportedly underway, with more than 600 people reportedly involved, and rescue workers using heavy equipment to remove debris and rubble.

"The scene is quite chaotic, as if the place had been leveled by an earthquake," a rescuer told Xinhua by telephone. "We have to work very carefully because ruined buildings are joined to homes still standing."

In October 2016, four residential buildings collapsed in Wenzhou killing at least 22 people.