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Monday, May 12, 2008

China Earthquake Kills Thousands

The worst earthquake in decades hit China and the death toll is 9,000 and counting as students were trapped in schools and tozic chemical leaks were reported by their state media.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated a hilly region of small cities and towns. The official Xinhua News Agency said 8,533 people died in Sichuan province and more than 200 others were killed in three other provinces and the mega-city of Chongqing.

Xinhua said 80 percent of the buildings had collapsed in Sichuan province's Beichuan county after the quake, raising fears the overall death toll could increase sharply.

State media said a chemical plant in Shifang city had cratered, burying hundreds of people and spilling more than 80 tons of toxic liquid ammonia from the site.

Rescue efforts continue but the death toll is expected to rise as China struggles to contain the leaks, fix the power outages and and as President Hu Jintao ordered an “all-out” rescue effort to locate and save survivors of this horrible tragedy.

Although it was difficult to telephone Chengdu, an Israeli student, Ronen Medzini, sent a text message to The Associated Press saying there were power and water outages there.

“Traffic jams, no running water, power outs, everyone sitting in the streets, patients evacuated from hospitals sitting outside and waiting,” he said.


The quake was felt as far away as the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, where some people hurried out of swaying office buildings and into the streets downtown. A building in the Thai capital of Bangkok also was evacuated after the quake was felt there.

A Blog for All is keeping track with multiple updates and links so head over there for the latest news.