A magnitude 7.1 earthquake has jolted northwest China's Qinghai Province, killing at least 400 people, and injuring about 10-thousand others.
President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have ordered local authorities to make all-out efforts to save lives, and respond to the disaster. Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has rushed to the region as well.
Wednesday morning's earthquake struck Yushu county, located in one of Qinghai Province's five Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures.
The epicenter is located 50 kilometers from the area's main township, and about 800 kilometers southwest of the provincial capital, Xining.
Most of the houses in the local vicinity collapsed.
700 soldiers are scrambling to clear rubble and rescue buried people.
More than five-thousand additional aid workers, including troops and medical staff, have also been dispatched to the county.
The strong quake and string of aftershocks toppled houses, temples, gas stations, and electric poles. The tremors also triggered landslides, damaged roads, cut power supplies, and disrupted telecommunications. A reservoir was cracked as well. Workers are now trying to prevent water from overflowing.
The township has a population of 100-thousand. Although it's a sparsely-populated region, experts say the seismic shift is very likely to cause "heavy" casualties. The area is in urgent need of tents, medicine, medical staff, and equipment.
China Eastern Airlines has arranged for two Airbus planes to transport rescuers and relief supplies.
The central and local governments, along with the Red Cross Society, are sending emergency assistance teams and provisions to the region.
(CCTV.com April 14, 2010)