BEIJING (AP) _ A moderately strong earthquake has struck a remote area of southwestern China's Yunnan province. Collapsing homes killed several people and injured dozens more, officials said Friday.

The 5.9-magnitude quake struck Thursday afternoon in Shidian county, an area of rugged mountains 1,400 miles southwest of Beijing, said local government and provincial seismological bureau officials.

Local officials said several people had been killed, but gave no specific figure. Fu Yongming, a staffer at the earthquake relief command center in Baoshan, the city closest to the quake's epicenter, said 61 people were known to have been hurt but that the number of casualties was increasing as reports were received from remote areas affected by the quake.

``Communications and electricity were also cut off last night but were restored this morning. The casualties were all caused by collapsing buildings,'' Fu said.

The area, not far from China's border with Myanmar, is sparsely populated. A quake with a magnitude of 5 can damage homes if it occurs in a populated area.

Officials said reports of injuries and damage were incomplete because the quake triggered landslides that blocked roads and cut off many villages.

The region is frequently jolted by earthquakes.