Chongqing -- Five people were confirmed dead in southwest China's Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality on Monday afternoon after an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale toppled two school buildings and a water tower.

Four students died in Chongqing's outer Liangping County when the earthquake toppled the Wenhua Township Primary School at about 2:30 p.m. At least 100 children were injured, the local government said.

More than 10 students were injured, two seriously, at the Central Primary School of Lirang Township in Liangping County.

The neighboring Sichuan Province reported one death from a water tower collapse in Santai County, in the city of Mianyang, said Deng Changwen, a spokesman for the provincial seismological bureau.

He said more people were feared injured or dead in Sichuan as many houses had collapsed in Dujiangyan City, near the epicenter in Wenchuan County.

A driver with the seismological bureau, surnamed Wan, said he saw "rows of houses collapsed" on Xingfu Avenue in Dujiangyan. "At least 10 people were injured," he told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

The Chinese Air Force has sent two helicopters to assist with relief work in the quake-stricken areas, the spokesman said.

The State Seismological Bureau also announced plans to send a team to the quake area.