6.9 7.1 earthquake struck near the site of Yushu county in Qinghai Province, China today. The last reports some 400 589 are dead and rescue efforts are underway to save others trapped below the rubble in this high-altitude, mountainous area. See a video below. See update late 4-14-10 below.
The earthquake hit at 7:49 a.m. local time, which was about 7:49 p.m. EST. The Yushu area is “hundreds of miles” from an airport, which will stifle rescue efforts and supplies coming in to the area (although FOX reports an airport in Yushu was opened last year). FOX News is reporting that 5,000 tents and 100,000 coats and blankets are being rushed to the province which sits at about 13,000 feet above sea level, and where night temps drop to below freezing.
The depth of the earthquake was 6.2 miles below the earth surface, and about 150 miles NNW of Qamdo, Xizang, Tibet.
The BBC says people are buried in collapsed houses:
A lot of one-storey houses ave collapsed. Taller buildings have hel up, but there are big cracks in them. One official told journalists more than 85% of buildings near the epicentre had collapsed. The official added that “a lot of students” had been buried after part of a vocational school collapsed.
The USGS says this is the strongest quake to hit the area since 1976. Power, phones and water are off. Six strong aftershocks are reported – all but one at or above 5.0 magnitude (this reports 18 aftershocks). See a good interactive map of Yushu area here.
Update 11:00 p.m. EDT:
Eighty-five percent of the buildings are reportedly collapsed. The magnitude has been raised from 6.9 to 7.1. The local headquarters of the Communist party collapsed and the wall of the Yushu hotel was ruptured.
The streets in Jiegu are thronged with panic, full of injured eople, with many of them bleeding from their injuries,” Zhuohuaxia, a local spokesperson, told Xinhua news agency. “The biggest problems now is that we lanc tnets, medical equipment, medicine and medical workers.”
According to the provincial government about 10,000 are injured.
At least one school dormitory collapsed killing 56 children; another shool in Yushu collapsed, trapping 30 students…A spokesperson for the Red Cross Society of China has said that 70% of schools in the area have collapsed…[the area is] currently also experiencing sandstorms…