Deadly earthquake hits China: 400 killed

2010-04-14 13:29

A strong earthquake hit a remote mountainous area of China today,

killing 400 people and injuring thousands, as it toppled mud-and-wood houses and

at least one school.

At least 10 000 people were injured in the quake, which measured

6.9 on the Richter scale. The quake disrupted telecommunications, cut out

electricity and triggered landslides in the northwestern province of Qinghai,

said local officials.

Rescuers were working with their bare hands to find survivors, with

children said to be among the casualties. President Hu Jintao called for all-out

efforts to save as many as possible.

About 400 people have been confirmed dead, Xinhua news agency

reported.

Meteorologists are predicting strong winds and sleet in coming

days, which could hamper rescue efforts.

The quake wreaked havoc on the flimsy earth-and-wood houses near

the epicentre, a high-altitude area near the border with Tibet.

At least 700 soldiers had been sent to look for survivors, and more

than 5 000 other rescuers would be dispatched to the zone, officials in Qinghai

said, according to Xinhua.

The US Geological Survey put the quake at a magnitude of 6.9, while

the China Earthquake Administration measured it at 7.1, saying the extensive

damage included cracks in a dam.

A series of aftershocks rattled the area, with magnitudes of up to

5.8, US Geological Survey reported.

The quake was also felt strongly in neighbouring regions, including

Tibet, Xinhua said.

Further aftershocks were likely in the coming days, seismologists

said.

Meanwhile, a violent storm killed at least 33 people and devastated

more than 60 000 homes as it swept across eastern India and Bangladesh

overnight.



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