Rescue Efforts Continue As Death Toll Hits 89 In China Quake

Dusty rubble remained a concern for rescuers in china, as efforts continue in rescue of victims of two shallow earthquakes that killed at least 89 people and flattened over 5700 houses.

Rescuers with shovels and sniffer dogs combed through collapsed hillsides on Tuesday, as five people were listed as missing and 628 injured following a strong earthquake in a farming region of northwest China.

State broadcaster CCTV showed on Tuesday images of soldiers digging through earth and sand to reach modest houses buried under landslides in the northwestern province of Gansu.

Seriously injured patients wrapped in blankets were put into helicopters heading to the provincial capital Lanzhou, which has the nearest major hospital.

The twin earthquakes that struck on Monday morning had magnitudes of 5.9 and 5.6, according to the US Geological Survey, but were only six miles deep, so that much of the energy released was transmitted to the surface, where it wreaked havoc. 

According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, initial investigations showed at least 5,785 houses had collapsed and another 73,000 were severely damaged even as the overnight body count stood at 89. 

On Monday, the government of the city of Dingxi, the worst-affected area, said more than 27,000 people were left homeless.

Xinhua said about 3,000 police and rescue personnel have been sent to the quake-hit region, though landslides and flooding have hampered their efforts, and officials said they were concerned more rain could exacerbate the need for shelter. 

Heavy clouds had gathered over the quake region early on Tuesday, as farmers in the largely rural area tended their goats on the mountainsides. 

Officials fear any storms could hamper the rescue efforts, bringing with them the threat of further landslides. 

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china, earth quake, flood, landslide, quake, Rescuers

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