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About 300 Dead, 8,000 Injured in 7.1-magnitude Quake in Qinghai

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The China Earthquake Administration has also sent 60 rescuers and 30 medical workers to the quake-hit region.

The China Eastern Airlines has arranged two Airbus aircraft for transporting rescuers and relief supplies.

The Qinghai Provincial Department of Civil Affairs has allocated 5,000 tents to the region.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has allocated 5,000 tents, 50,000 cotton-padded clothes and 50,000 quilts to the region.

In addition, the Red Cross Society of China has dispatched a relief team to Yushu and allocated 100,000 yuan (US$14,706), 500 tents, 1,000 cotton-padded clothes and 1,000 quilts as relief supplies.

Pupils of some primary schools were among the buried, but the number was unknown, said Shi Huajie, an army police officer in the rescue operation.

"We have to mainly rely on our hands to clear away the debris as we have no large excavating machines," he said. "We have no medical equipment, either."

Wu Yong, commander of the Yushu Military Area Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, said the death toll "may rise further as lots of houses collapsed."

"We are now putting up tents and transporting oxygen to prepare for treating the injured," he said.

"But roads leading to the airport have been damaged, hampering the rescue efforts," he said.

"In addition, frequent aftershocks and strong winds make the rescue operation more difficult," he added.

The quake struck the Yushu County in the Yushu prefecture at 7:49 AM with a depth of about 33 km. The epicenter is calculated to be 33.1 north and 96.7 east, the China Earthquake Networks Center reported.

At least 18 aftershocks have been reported so far, with the biggest being 6.3 magnitude about an hour and 36 minutes later.

"Aftershocks above 6 magnitude are still likely to happen in the coming several days," warned Liu Jie, of the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Earlier on 5:39 AM, a 4.7-magnitude jolted the county with a depth of about 6 km, the center reported.

Yushu is a quake-prone region.

(Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2010)

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