A desperate search for survivors is underway in the devastated hillsides after the two earthquakes which struck north west China. The total number of dead is 89 so far but authorities fear that number will rise. Over 800 have been injured. It is reckoned about 127,000 people have been affected.
Around 3,000 soldiers and police were drafted in to help in the rescue. The state run news agency Xinhua said the chance of finding survivors is slim as the mud is a fine yellow sandy silt.
It is reported over 400 after shocks were recorded after the two initial quakes which hit the Gansu province. Dingxi city suffered the most casualties of the eight towns which were affected.
Temporary hospitals were set up in parking areas and on roadsides to treat the large number of injured in this remote area. City authorities say thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed and more than 27,000 people left homeless.
The US Geological Survey measured the two quakes at 5.9 and 5.6 magnitude while Chinese authorities reported the first was a 6.6 magnitude.
Gansu is next to Sichuan province where a 6.6 quake in April killed 164 people and injured more than 6,700. It was China’s worst quake in three years.