BEIJING - At least three powerful aftershocks hit southwest China's quake area on Thursday, killing one elderly person and injuring more than a dozen, the official Xinhua news agency said.

More than 69,000 people have been confirmed dead and some 18,000 are still listed as missing over two months after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit the mountainous province of Sichuan on May 12, the deadliest in the country since 1976.

A 5.6-magnitude aftershock struck Qingchuan county in northeastern Sichuan in the early hours of Thursday, killing a 60-year-old, Xinhua said.

At least four people were injured in the adjacent Ningqiang county in Shaanxi province, including a man who jumped from the second floor of a hotel and suffered fracture on his left arm, Xinhua said.

It was the first of two pre-dawn aftershock that caused landslides and cut off some roads, it said.

"Both were felt strongly and lasted fairly long," said Xinhua. "Mountains and houses shook vehemently."

Another aftershock, measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, hit the same area at 3:09 p.m. local time and was felt in places as far as the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, Xinhua said.

Chinese officials have warned of an arduous reconstruction task, which includes housing millions of displaced and impoverished residents and rebuilding the local economy.

The torch relay for the Aug. 8-24 Beijing Olympics, originally scheduled to take place in Sichuan in June, will go to the province from Aug. 3-5.

(Reporting by Guo Shipeng; Editing by Alex Richardson)