An earthquake in the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu killed at least 56 people and injured 392, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The 6.6-magnitude quake struck at 7:45 a.m. local time in the city of Dingxi, toppling buildings in the region, Xinhua reported. Dingxi is located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of the provincial capital, Lanzhou.

The government dispatched more than 2,000 soldiers and two helicopters to the quake area to help with rescue efforts, Xinhua reported, without citing the source of its information. The quake, which lasted about a minute, was felt in Lanzhou as well as in Xi’an, the capital of neighboring Shaanxi province, Xinhua said.

Western China has been struck by several deadly earthquakes in recent years. A quake of the same magnitude hit Sichuan province on April 20, killing at least 196 people. In April 2010 a 6.9-magnitude quake in the Qinghai province killed about 2,700 people. In 2008 a 7.9-magnitude quake in Sichuan left more than 87,000 people dead or missing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping issued instructions to rescue crews to focus their efforts on reducing casualties from the quake, the official China Central Television reported on its account on Sina Corp.’s Twitter-like Weibo service.

Editors: Rosalind Mathieson, Andrew Davis