China quake: Death toll rises to 94

Beijing, July 24: The death toll in the devastating earthquake in China's northwest Gansu province near Tibet rose to 94 on Tuesday as rescue workers accessed remote areas, especially the villages to clear the debris.

About 900 people were injured in the quake measuring 6.6 which was followed by over 400 aftershocks. State-run China Radio International, (CRI) reported that so far 887 people were listed as injured while the death toll rose to 94.

The earthquake jolted the juncture area of Minxian and Zhangxian counties in the city of Dingxi at 7:45 am yesterday.

Reports in the official media said no casualties have been reported in schools so far from the earthquake as all the summer schools were closed for summer vacation.

The quake had caused the collapse of more than 1,200 houses and severely damaged another 21,000 homes, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Thousands of relief workers were sent to clear the debris and rescue as many people as possible in the gold 42 hour period.

Two helicopters and about 3,000 armed police, firefighters, local militiamen and local government staff have been sent to the quake-hit region to help with rescue efforts.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs has allotted 10,000 tents, 30,000 quilts and 10,000 sleeping bags to the quake-hit region.

Train services on a major railway line have been suspended because of heavy rain and landslides that have occurred.

In addition to aftershocks, falling rocks were reported in the mountainous region following the quake, posing a threat to rescuers helping villagers.

The quake occurred on a fault zone in the province, which has recorded 25 earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 5, the China Earthquake Administration said.

Residents in Minxian said the quake lasted for about a minute, with sources at the county government saying most of the townships in the area have been affected.

Wang Shan, an archaeologist from the Gansu Provincial Institute of Historic Relics and Archaeology, said he and his colleagues ran out of their houses in Shuzha village in Minxian when the quake struck.

"We had just finished our breakfast. I could feel the earth was shaking vertically but the horizontal tremor was not very obvious," he told state-run news agency.

He said a series of aftershocks occurred in the morning and some of them were so strong that his family members in Lanzhou could feel them.

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