Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scores Killed in China Quake

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
07:21 Mecca time, 04:21 GMT

Scores killed in China quake

Television images indicate significant damage

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake has killed at least 67 people in a mountainous rural area in western China, officials and state media say.

Many others were trapped under houses and troops were dispatched to the area on Wednesday amid fears that many residents could be without shelter in temperatures below freezing.

The quake and at least three aftershocks – some more than 6.0 in magnitude - that struck the ethnic Tibetan town of Yushu in Qinghai province, on the Tibetan plateau, caused many low, brick buildings to collapse.

Most of the region's low residential buildings had fallen, Huang Limin, a government official in Yushu, told state television.

Zhuo De, a resident of Yushu who spoke by phone from the capital of Qinghai province after contacting his family in Yushu, said "maybe dozens were injured, maybe more - it's hard to say".

"The homes are built with thick walls and are strong, but if they collapsed they could hurt many people inside."

People from the Yushu prefecture highway department were frantically trying to dig out colleagues trapped in a collapsed building, Ji Guodong, a department official, said by telephone.

The quake, with a depth of 10km, was centred in the mountains that divide Qinghai province from the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Tibetan plateau is regularly shaken by earthquakes, but casualties are usually minimal because so few people live there.

The foothills to the south and east of the area are home to herders and Tibetan monasteries, while the area to the north and west is arid and largely empty.

Source: Agencies

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