Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Earthquake hits NW China, at least 300 dead

The death toll in a strong earthquake that rocked northwestern China's remote Qinghai province on Wednesday has risen to around 300, with another 8,000 injured, state media has reported.

Houses have collapsed, roads have been damaged or blocked by landslides and telecommunications have been disrupted following Wednesday's quake, with recorded a magnitude of 6.9, according to the US Geological Survey.

Officials said many others were injured by the quake, which wreaked havoc on the flimsy earth and wood houses near the epicentre in the high-altitude area of Qinghai province on the border with Tibet.

"The injured are everywhere in the street, a lot of people are bleeding from head wounds," state Xinhua news agency quoted a local official, identified as Zhuohuaxia, as saying.

He said more than 85 per cent of houses had collapsed in the town of Jiegu, located near the quake's epicentre.

"There is a big crack in the Yushu Hotel, the four-storey meeting hall of the prefecture government has collapsed," the official said.

At least part of a vocational school had also collapsed and "a lot of students are buried underneath," he added.

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