(Edited from Xinhua, Yushu) About 400 people have died and 10,000 others were injured after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit northwest China’s Qinghai Province early on Wednesday, local authorities said.
Many people are still buried under the debris of collapsed houses in the Gyegu Town near the epicenter in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu in southern Qinghai, said Huang Limin, deputy secretary-general of the prefecture government.

(Edited from Xinhua, Yushu) About 400 people have died and 10,000 others were injured after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit northwest China’s Qinghai Province early on Wednesday, local authorities said.

Many people are still buried under the debris of collapsed houses in the Gyegu Town near the epicenter in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu in southern Qinghai, said Huang Limin, deputy secretary-general of the prefecture government.

The strong quake and a string of aftershocks, with the biggest one being 6.3 magnitude, have toppled houses, temples, gas stations and electric poles, triggered landslides, damaged roads, cut power supplies and disrupted telecommunications. A reservoir was also cracked, where workers are trying to prevent the outflow of water.

Gyegu, also known as Jiegu, is the seat of the Yushu prefecture government. The town has a population of about 100,000, including permanent residents and migrant people.

“I can see injured people everywhere. The biggest problem now is that we lack tents, we lack medical equipment, medicine and medical workers,” said Zhuohuaxia, a publicity official in Yushu.

More than 85 percent of the houses in Gyegu, almost all made of wood and earthen walls, had collapsed, he said.

President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have ordered local authorities to go all out to save the disaster-stricken people.

The State Council, or Cabinet, has set up a quake-relief headquarters, with Vice Premier Hui Liangyu as the head, to take care of disaster relief, epidemic prevention, seismic monitoring and public security.

Hui has arrived at the quake-hit region to oversee the rescue and relief operation.

About 700 soldiers are now struggling to clear away the rubble and rescue the buried people, a spokesman with the Qinghai Provincial Emergency Office said.

More than 5,000 additional rescuers, including soldiers and medical workers, have been dispatched to the quake-hit region, according to a news conference held by the Qinghai provincial government.

The China Earthquake Administration, the Red Cross Society of China, and authorities in other provincial-level regions, including Gansu, Sichuan, Tibet, Beijing and Guangdong, have also dispatched rescuers to Yushu.

Lying on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Yushu has an altitude of above 4,000 meters. The Qinghai Provincial Observatory forecast Wednesday that Yushu would see strong winds and sleet in the coming days, which would hamper rescue efforts.

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