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July 23, 2013

Death Toll from China Quake Rises

by VOA News

Rescuers in an earthquake-hit area of northwest China continue to search through the rubble of collapsed buildings Tuesday, as the death toll climbed to 94.

State television showed soldiers and other rescue personnel digging through houses buried by landslides in the province of Gansu, where the quakes struck early Monday.

State media said more than 5,700 houses collapsed during the quakes and ensuing landslides and that another 73,000 homes were severely damaged. The reports said more than 31,000 people have been relocated.

Makeshift first aid centers have been set up to treat many of the 870 people who were injured. Authorities say landslides have prevented many rescuers from reaching more remote areas.

The U.S. Geological Survey said a shallow, magnitude 5.9 quake struck early Monday, near the city of Dingxi in mountainous Gansu province. It said a second earthquake measuring 5.6 shook the area about 90 minutes later, while hundreds of aftershocks followed.

Heavy rain was forecast for the coming days, raising the risk of further landslides and complications to rescue efforts.

The Chinese Red Cross said it is sending relief supplies, including jackets and tents to earthquake survivors.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the emergency workers to make an "all-out" effort to save lives.