China quake toll mounts to 1,484

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Beijing, Apr 18(ANI): The death toll from the devastating earthquake that struck a Tibetan area in northwest China's Qinghai Province rose to 1,484 on Sunday morning, with another 312 declared missing.

Wednesday's earthquake that measured 7.1 on the Richter scale, is believed to be the strongest to hit the country in nearly two years, and has left 12,088 people injured, including 1,394 serious cases, Xinhua news agency reports.

Rescuers said that the toll is expected to rise as freezing nights, with temperatures around minus three degrees C, become increasingly difficult for survivors under the debris to bear.

Altitude sickness and low oxygen have already caused tremendous challenges for rescuers, volunteers and reporters alike.

The quake and a string of aftershocks, the biggest being 6.3 magnitude, toppled houses, temples, gas stations and electric poles, triggered landslides, damaged roads, cut power supplies and disrupted telecommunications. A reservoir also developed cracks, which workers are trying to patch.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have ordered local authorities to spare no effort in search and rescue operations, and in the caring of the victims.

According to the Qinghai provincial government, over 5,000 rescuers, including soldiers and medical workers, are at the quake-hit region,

Authorities in the neighboring provinces of Gansu and Sichuan and the Tibet autonomous region are also involved in the rescue efforts. (ANI)

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