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April 21, 2013

Rescuers Struggle to Reach China Quake Victims

by VOA News

Search and rescue teams are struggling to reach remote areas of China's Sichuan province, where a powerful earthquake has killed more than 200 people and injured more than 11,000.

After the quake Saturday morning, state media said hard-hit parts of Lushan county were not reachable by road, with phone services cut off. China's official Xinhua news agency said the quake also rattled buildings in the provincial capital, Chengdu, 115 kilometers to the east.

Numerous aftershocks have struck the area.

Xinhua says rescue workers on Sunday saved nine villagers trapped in the mountainous Lushan County.

Those rescued were all elderly and children, with the eldest being 85 years old and the youngest only two.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the West China Hospital, a leading medical facility in Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, which has taken in a number of seriously injured patients who had been transferred from the quake-hit areas.

President Xi Jinping has ordered all-out measures to rescue victims and minimize casualties following the disaster.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 6.6-magnitude quake occurred at a shallow depth of just 13 kilometers.

The incident brings back painful memories for Sichuan, which suffered a 2008 earthquake that killed more than 70,000 people.