Hundreds die as series of earthquakes strike China.
Many more people were trapped, and the toll was expected to rise.
The largest quake was recorded by the US Geological Survey as magnitude 6.9. In the aftermath, panicking crowds flooded the streets of the Qinghai province township where most of the homes had been flattened. Pupils were buried inside several damaged schools.
Police used shovels to dig through the rubble in the town as repair teams were working on the damaged road to the nearest airport to clear the way for equipment and rescue teams. Hospitals were overwhelmed, many lacking even the most basic supplies.
By nightfall the airport was operating with emergency power and receiving relief flights carrying medical workers and supplies.
Downed phone lines, strong winds and frequent aftershocks hindered rescue efforts, said Wu Yong, commander of the local army garrison, who said the death toll "may rise further as lots of houses collapsed."
With many people forced outside, the provincial government said it was rushing 5,000 tents and 100,000 coats and blankets to the mountainous region, with an altitude of around 13,000ft where night time temperatures plunge below freezing.
The quake, which struck at 7.49am local time, was centred on Yushu county, in the southern part of Qinghai, near Tibet, with a population of about 100,000.
DISASTER: People walk on the ruins of collapsed buildings after an earthquake struck Yushu County in northwest China's Qinghai Province
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Apr 15, 2010|
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