Quake in western China kills 589

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XINING, China – Soldiers and civilians used shovels and their bare hands to dig through collapsed buildings in search of survivors after strong earthquakes struck a mountainous Tibetan region of China on Wednesday, killing at least 589 people and injuring more than 10,000.


The series of quakes flattened buildings across remote western Yushu county and sent survivors, many bleeding from their wounds, flooding into the streets of Jiegu township.

State television showed block after devastated block of toppled mud and wood homes. Local officials said 85 percent of the structures had been destroyed.


Several schools collapsed, with the state news agency saying at least 56 students died.

Worst hit was the Yushu Vocational School, where Xinhua cited a local education official as saying 22 students died.


Footage on Qinghai Satellite TV showed bodies wrapped in blankets lying on the ground while rescuers pulled shards of concrete from a pancaked school building.


Tens of thousands of the town's 70,000 people were without shelter, state media said.


The local quake relief headquarters put the death toll at 589 and the injured at 10,000 by early Thursday morning, according to the Xinhua news agency.

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