CNN Wire Staff
Nearly 400 people are feared dead after a rapid series of strong earthquakes hit a mountainous and impoverished area of China's Qinghai province early Wednesday, state-run media said.
At least 10,000 others were injured, the Xinhua news agency reported, and many victims, including school children, were buried under debris. Rescuers were struggling to clear debris with their hands and save those trapped below.
A 6.9-magnitude earthquake, as measured by the U.S. Geological Survey, struck at 7:49 a.m. local time (7:49 p.m. ET Tuesday), when many citizens were still at home and schools were beginning the day. The USGS also recorded several strong aftershocks - one of magnitude 5.8 - all within hours of the initial quake.
The epicenter was located in remote and rugged terrain, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northwest of Qamdo, Tibet. Qinghai borders the autonomous regions of Tibet and Xingjiang and the provinces of Gansu and Sichuan.
Editor’s note: Selena Hsu is a former AC360° staffer, now in China as media fellow for the Henry Luce Foundation and working for CCTV – China Central Television.
China's earthquake has separated thousands of children from their parents – and left them potential orphans. At Jiuzhou Stadium in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, everyone is looking for someone...
The Chinese government says it is coming up with plans to allow for adoption. It's estimated that 4,000 have been orphaned from the quake.
As children's names are called off on loudspeakers, more than a week after the quake, everyone is still hoping that at last their paths will cross here.
The earthquake in Sichuan has highlighted the particularly stark losses this tragedy has inflicted on the Chinese nuclear family. It's hard to convey just how close parents and their precious only child are here; they spend so much of their daily lives together in such small, shared spaces.
This quake struck when children were at school and parents were out working, and some of the most desperate emotions we are seeing now come from an incredible breach of the family unit.
One of the recurring cries from the parents, acknowledged by officials, is the shoddy construction of schools here, which has led to a disproportionately high number of young deaths – almost 7000 classrooms destroyed. In the town of Juyuan in Dujiangyan county, the middle school has completely collapsed, while apartment buildings right next door are still standing, with even the windows intact.
David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer
Wanted to update you on the latest rescue efforts in southwest China after the massive earthquake three days ago. The government says the death toll could rise from nearly 20,000 now to more than 50,000.
More soldiers scrambled to the hardest-hit areas, using 110 helicopters. More than 2,000 medical workers have moved to the region.
Parents are waiting at destroyed schools, hoping their children will be pulled alive from the debris.
CNN's John Vause reached the epicenter, and describes his journey here:
Audio report: click here
video update: click here
Blog dispatch: (see below)
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