An earthquake has struck southwestern China, killing at least 381 people in a remote mountainous area of Yunnan province, and causing some buildings, including a school, to collapse.

Some 1,881 people were injured Xinhua and state broadcaster CCTV said, citing the authorities.

The official Xinhua news agency said that the epicentre of Sunday’s quake was in Longtoushan town in Yunnan’s Ludian county.

Communications have been seriously affected and rescuers are rushing to the scene, the report said.

Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown, reporting from Kunshan, China, said: “This quake has happened in a very very remote area of southwest China.

“The difficulty for rescuers is going to be the time it takes to reach this area.”

Pictures posted online by state media showed troops stretchering people away, and bricks which had fallen off buildings damaging cars, Reuters news agency reported.

Many people rushed out of buildings onto the street after the quake hit, electricity supplies were cut and at least one school collapsed, Xinhua added.

“The problem is a lot of the structures in this area are simply not quake proof. This is a very impoversihed region and very remote”, Brown reported.

The US Geological Survey said the quake registered at shallow depth of less than 1 mile (1.6 km). Chinese state media said was felt most strongly Yunnan, as well as in the neighbouring provinces of Guizhou and Sichuan.

The government is sending 2,000 tents, 3,000 folding beds, 3,000 quilts and 3,000 coats to the disaster zone, the report said.

Ludian is home to some 265,900 people, Xinhua added. China is frequently struck by quakes in this part of the country. A quake in Sichuan in 2008 killed almost 70,000 people.

A quake in the same region in 2012 kiled 80 people.

Earlier in the day a less severe quake struck Tibet, causing no casualties.