China quake rescue continues, deaths at 74

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China has reopened roads leading to the epicentre of this week's magnitude-6.8 earthquake in southwestern Sichuan province and traffic has resumed, while the death toll has risen to 74

In addition, a total of 259 people were injured in the disaster and 26 remained missing as of Tuesday night, the People's Daily reported on Wednesday.

The strongest earthquake to hit the province since 2017 destroyed numerous buildings and caused severe damage to power and water infrastructure as well as telecommunications.

Rescuers had rushed to reach stranded people, restore utilities and send emergency relief, while 11,000 people were evacuated on Tuesday from Luding county, where the quake was centred.

Early on Wednesday, China Earthquake Networks Centre recorded a magnitude 3 aftershock at the epicentre, at a depth of 12 kilometres.

Weather forecasters have also warned of the prospect of heavy rains in the region until Friday.