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At Least 56 Students Die in Western China Earthquake

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At least 56 students died in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit northwest China's Qinghai Province early on Wednesday, local authorities said Wednesday night.

Another 40 students trapped in the debris have slim chance of surviving. Five teachers have been reported dead, said Xiao Yuping, deputy head of the education department of Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu in southern Qinghai where the epicenter lies.

Twenty two of the kill students, including 20 girls, were from Yushu Vocational Scool, Xiao said.

Twenty five students have been rescued from the debris of the vocational school, leaving more than 20 students still trapped, China Central Television reported.

Twenty three students were rescued from the debris of Yushu No. 3 Primary School while 36 were believed still trapped, rescuers said.

"All the students have no water, food and are staying on the play grounds," Xiao said.

The quake, which have killed at least 400 and buried thousands of people, struck the Yushu County in 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.

(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2010)

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