23 Jul 2013

Rescue efforts continue after deadly China quake

9:35 am on 23 July 2013

Landslides and blocked roads have hampered attempts by rescuers to help victims of two powerful earthquakes in northwest China.

The tremors in Gansu province on Monday have killed 89 people and injured almost 600.

The earthquakes which the US Geological Survey said were of magnitudes 5.9 and 5.6 triggered landslides which buried local houses.

Pictures from the scene showed simple buildings reduced to rubble, with pieces of corrugated metal roofing scattered over the wreckage, AFP reports.

The government of Dingxi city in Gansu said on a social media account that 14 people remained missing.

Almost all the confirmed dead were in Min county, where a medicine factory employee said he saw an 18-storey tower block, the tallest building in the country, shaking "ferociously" when the quake struck.

An official at the provincial earthquake bureau said more than 1200 buildings collapsed and 21,000 were severely damaged, adding that 371 aftershocks had been recorded.

Nearly 3000 firefighters, police, soldiers and local government workers had been sent to the area, Xinhua said, but rescue efforts are being hampered by landslides and roads which had been blocked by heavy rain in previous days.