A magnitude-6.5 earthquake rocked a remote area of the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan on Sunday, killing 175 people and injuring more than 1,300.

Authorities say that 181 people are still missing.

The quake, the worst Yunnan has experienced in 14 years, struck at 4:30 p.m. with its hypocenter located about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) underground and its epicenter in the Ludian district, a region with 439,000 residents in Zhaotong prefecture.

The area affected by the quake is a remote and agricultural area.

The quake was felt in other zones, including the cities of Kunming, the provincial capital, and Chongqing, Leshan and Chengdu, in the neighboring province of Sichuan, local media reported.

Chinese authorities sent 2,500 soldiers and more than 700 police and firefighters to the area to conduct rescue work, aided by about a dozen sniffer dogs that will be used to locate survivors under the ruins of collapsed homes.

In addition, the government has shipped 2,000 tents, 3,000 folding cots, 3,000 blankets and 3,000 overcoats to the region, as well as other basic products contributed by the Chinese Red Cross.

A total of 122 people are known to have been killed in the quake in the county where the epicenter was located.

Another 53 people died in the neighboring districts of Qiaojia and Huize.

More than 12,000 homes, authorities said, collapsed during and after the temblor and some 30,000 were damaged, particularly those of ancient construction.

In Ludian district, communications and electricity services have been cut off, although transportation services have been reestablished there to connect the area with surrounding zones.

China's southwest is an area of frequent seismic activity and, at this time of year, it also experiences intense rains, which last month caused serious flooding and many landslides.

The worst earthquake experienced by residents of southwestern China in recent years was the one that struck Sichuan in 2008, killing tens of thousands of people. EFE