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Quake leaves at least 250 dead in China - Independent, UK

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  • Zafar Khan
    Quake leaves at least 250 dead in China By Jasper Becker in Beijing 25 February 2003 http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia_china/story.jsp?story=381484
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 26, 2003
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      Quake leaves at least 250 dead in China
      By Jasper Becker in Beijing
      25 February 2003

      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia_china/story.jsp?story=381484

      Hundreds of villagers were killed and a thousand
      injured in a powerful earthquake in the Pamir
      mountains on China's North-western border with
      Kyrgyzstanyesterday morning.

      As the first rescuers reached Bachu county, near the
      epicentre, the official death toll quickly climbed to
      257. At least 10 of the victims were children
      attending the county school, which collapsed.

      A Kashgar official, who did not wish to be named,
      said: "Some people are holding funerals in accordance
      with Uighur [Muslim] tradition, while rescue workers
      are attending to the injured. The place is in complete
      chaos."

      The official Xinhua news agency said more than a
      thousand buildings had collapsed and that tremors from
      the quake, which measured 6.8 on the Richter scale,
      were felt in Kashgar, a Silk Road oasis town. Abuliti,
      a bank clerk, said: "It was very frightening. The
      earthquake happened when I was riding my bicycle. I've
      never experienced this before."

      Zhou Mingcheng, the owner of a flour mill in Arlagen
      village in Bachu county, and his family escaped from
      their home as it collapsed. "We were sleeping at the
      time, and it was still dark. We ran out immediately
      when it began to shake," Zhou said. "There is no
      electricity. Lots of people are outside now and no one
      dares stay at home."

      Xinhua said the earthquake struck at 10am and was the
      biggest to hit the region in 50 years. The epicentre
      was in the sparsely populated Jiashi county, but
      villages in Bachu county, with a total population of
      370,000, were hardest hit.

      Officials in the provincial capital of Ürümqi have
      started sending grain, milk and blankets to the
      region, where temperatures hover around freezing
      point. An aid convoy with tents and blankets will
      reach the area within 24 hours.

      Most inhabitants are ethnic Uighurs, Turkic-speaking
      Muslims. Others are Kazakh and Kyrgyz herders. Zhang
      Yong, of the Xinjiang Seismological Bureau, said the
      death toll was unusually high for an earthquake in the
      region.


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