Qinghai quake update
The 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck the Qinghai-Sichuan border early this morning has left hundreds dead and thousands injured.
As of 1 p.m., Yushu firefighters had pulled 28 people from the rubble.
In local news, a team of volunteers from Sichuan, which suffered its own devastating quake on May 12, 2008, has self-organized with the aim of helping relief efforts in Qinghai. Among the seven-person team are four mountain-rescue specialists, one Tibetan-Chinese translator, one medical personnel, and one machinery specialist. All of the team members participated heavily in rescue efforts after the Wenchuan earthquake. Along with another six-person rescue team, they have set off toward Qinghai and expect to reach the government seat of Yushu by noon tomorrow.
A magnitude-4.7 tremor shook the area at 5:39 a.m., two hours before the 7.1-magnitude quake, which struck at a depth of 33,000 meters. At least 18 aftershocks had been recorded as of 2:30 p.m.
Xinhua has compiled a thorough portrait of the affected areas:
-Epicenter is at Rima Village in Shanglaxiu Township
-The quake struck 50 km west of Jiegu Township, government seat of Yushu Prefecture
-The epicenter is 800 km away from the provincial capital of Xining
-The 267,000 square kilometer region is home to a population of over 252,700 people
-A 5.0-magnitude earthquake hit the area on July 18, 2006 and a 5.6-magnitude quake on July 19, 2006
Because the actual epicenter is a sparsely populated area, neighboring Jiegu (population: 100,000) seems to have borne the brunt of damages and casualties.
A vocational school has collapsed, burying students under the rubble. Five students at the Yushu Primary School, which also toppled, have been confirmed dead. One thousand students attend the school, according to another Xinhua report.
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