An earthquake has toppled homes, offices and schools in the remote mountainous Tibetan plateau of southwest China – killing 400 people and injuring thousands more.
Teams of rescue workers continue to search for anyone who may still be alive in the rubble of collapsed buildings after the 7.1 magnitude quake struck Qinghai province.
Strong aftershocks are hampering emergency services sent in to Yushu county. Most of the casualties are said be from the regional capital Golmud.
Seismologists are warning that more tremors are likely:
The director of China’s earthquake forecasting department Liu Jie said: “We are expecting strong aftershocks. People should watch out for aftershocks measuring at least magnitude six in the next couple of days. According to our information, airports and roads are damaged and this could get in the way of rescue efforts.”
In one township close to the epicentre the local fire brigade is trying to save 20 students trapped in a collapsed four-storey building.
As many as 10,000 people are said to be injured many of them have been rendered homeless and
are in dire need of shelter and medical supplies.
The army is mobilising to help with the rescue operation. Five thousand tents and 100,000 thick, cotton coats and heavy blankets are being sent to help survivors cope with high winds and near-freezing temperatures.