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Chinese Rescuers Fighting Clock to Pull More Quake Survivors from Debris

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Thousands of rescuers fought the clock Friday to pull more survivors from the debris within 72 "golden hours" after a devastating earthquake that has left 760 dead, 243 missing and 11,477 injured in northwest China.

The 7.1-magnitude quake, which struck the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu in southern Qinghai Province early on Wednesday, also toppled 15,000 residential buildings and forced 100,000 residents to be relocated, according to the rescue headquarters.

Many people are still buried under the debris of collapsed houses in the hardest-hit Gyegu Town near the epicenter, the seat of the Yushu prefecture government and home to 100,000 people. It sits at about 4,000 meters above sea level.

More than 85 percent of houses in Gyegu, mostly made of mudbrick and wood, had collapsed.

Thousands of professional rescuers, soldiers, police officers, fire-fighters and medical workers have been mobilized nationwide to the quake zone, fighting altitude sickness, chilly weather, strong winds and frequent aftershocks to find survivors and treat the injured.

Premier Wen Jiabao arrived at Yushu late Thursday to oversee the rescue operation.

"We will make all-out efforts to build a new Yushu," Wen said while visiting local residents Friday.

He asked them to "take care of themselves" and "love and care for each other in the face of difficulties, as this is where our hope lies."

(Xinhua News Agency April 16, 2010)

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