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China Quake Toll Rises


Destroyed houses after an earthquake hit the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu

Destroyed houses after an earthquake hit the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu

The death toll from a powerful earthquake in western China continues to rise, with the official Xinhua news agency saying at least 617 were killed in the April 14 quake in a remote region of Tibet.

Officials expect the death toll to rise, as many are feared buried under rubble.

The series of quakes flattened buildings across western Yushu county.

Survivors there spent the night huddled under blankets while temperatures dropped below freezing.

State television showed block after block of toppled mud and wood homes.

Local officials said 85 percent of the structures had been destroyed.

Residents and troops garrisoned in the town used shovels and their hands to pull survivors and bodies from the rubble much of the day.

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

President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao urged "all-out efforts" to rescue survivors and dispatched a vice-premier to supervise the effort.

compiled from agency reports
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