Earthquake survivors rescued as death toll soars

A four-year-old
girl and a 68-year-old woman have been pulled from the rubble five days after a
deadly earthquake hit in a remote part of western China killing more than 2,000
people.

The two
survivors had been trapped under a bed in their mud hut in a village about 12
miles from the badly hit town of Jiegu, China Central Television reported.

Food and water
had been passed to the pair through gaps in the rubble of their house, CCTV
said.

The woman was
said to be in critical condition after she was rescued, while the child had
heart problems from the trauma.

Even as
rescuers pulled the pair out of the rubble, the death toll from the
6.9-magnitude quake last Wednesday in a remote Tibetan region of western China
rose to 2,039, the official Xinhua News Agency said. In addition, more than
12,000 were injured.

Officials say people in the quake
zone now have basic shelter, food and water, but it has not been easy to get
supplies to the area 13,000ft above sea-level.

Miao Chonggang, deputy head of the
China Earthquake Administration, said some 15,000 rescue personnel were on the
scene.

Tibetan Buddhist monks have been
heavily involved in the emergency operation, digging through the rubble for survivors,
distributing aid and collecting bodies.

“We have over 10,000 monks
here for one reason – to save people,” one monk told reporters.

The bodies of more than 700 quake
victims were burned on vast funeral pyres.

The scale of the deaths meant that
traditional Tibetan sky burials – where bodies are left in the open to be eaten
by vultures – were impossible.

The Dalai Lama has appealed to Chinese authorities to allow him to visit
the quake zone.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was born in Qinghai province but has
not set foot in China since a failed Tibetan uprising more than 50 years ago.

Analysts say it is highly unlikely that the Chinese government – who see
the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist – will agree to his request.

WORLDChinaquakeSTORY

Rescuers and volunteers search for survivors among debris in earthquake hit Yushu County of northwest China’s Qinghai Province Monday.
Photo: Xinhuanet.com
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