127 dead in China earthquake

AFP :
Rescuers in remote villages of northwest China dug through the rubble of collapsed homes in freezing conditions on Tuesday after the country’s deadliest earthquake in years killed at least 127 people.

State media said the shallow tremor just before midnight had caused the deaths of at least 113 and injured more than 530 in impoverished Gansu province, as of Tuesday afternoon.

A further 14 died and 198 were injured in Haidong in neighbouring Qinghai province, state-run newspaper the People’s Daily reported.

The quake damaged more than 155,000 buildings, according to state broadcaster CCTV, and sent residents running into the freezing streets for safety.

At a village near the epicentre, AFP reporters saw huge cracks running through the exterior and interior walls of a brick home, and the roof of a building that had caved in completely.

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“I am 70 and I have never experienced such a powerful quake in my life,” resident Ma Wenchang told AFP.

“I can’t live (in this house) anymore because it’s too dangerous. My relatives have been relocated somewhere else.”

At another location, the top of a mosque had collapsed askew, and another building was reduced to mere rubble.

The roads were full of emergency vehicles, and the AFP team saw trucks covered in red banners reading “earthquake relief supplies.”

As evening fell, volunteers scrambled to set up tents in a town square to make a base for rescuers. Two dozen military trucks were parked nearby.