400 Dead in China Quake

Victims trapped after 6.9 shaker rattles Tibetan plateau
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2010 1:05 AM CDT
Updated Apr 14, 2010 7:45 AM CDT
In this photo taken by a cell phone, rescuers scramble to save people in a building destroyed this moring by a 6.9 earthquake in the Tibetan prefecture of Yushu in northwest China's Qinghai province.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhang Hongshuan)
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(Newser) – At least 400 people were killed, some 10,000 injured and scores buried in collapsed buildings when a series of earthquakes up to 6.9 magnitude hit the western Tibetan plateau this morning. Chinese authorities are scrambling to get rescue workers to the sparsely populated area, which is mainly inhabited by Tibetan herdsmen. The local infrastructure was badly damaged by six quakes that hit within a space of three hours, reports the BBC.

One official estimated that 85% of the buildings in the epicenter in Jiegu in Qinghai province had collapsed. "In a flash, the houses went down," a local newscaster said. "The difficulty we face is that we don't have any excavators," a local military official told state media. "Many of the people have been buried and our soldiers are trying to pull them out with human labor. It is very difficult to save people with our bare hands."

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