Hundreds of firefighters arrived early Tuesday and rescued at least eight trapped people, the Chinese Ministry of Emergency Management said.
State broadcaster CCTV showed soldiers using a chainsaw to cut through a wooden door and rescue a couple under a fallen kitchen wall.
More than 4,400 people have been evacuated after 73 houses collapsed, authorities said.
Most of the deaths were caused by damage to houses, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
A major highway and sections of other roads were closed, Xinhua said. CCTV showed a landslide down a hill and onto a road.
Sichuan emergency management said direct economic losses exceeded 10 million yuan ($1.4 million).
A 6.0 magnitude earthquake and a 5.1 magnitude aftershock struck the area in Sichuan province late Monday night. Aftershocks continued into Tuesday morning.
The hardest-hit area appeared to be Changning country, part of Yibin city. CCTV reported that a hospital in Changning transferred all of its patients because of building damage.
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