China / Society

Rescue ongoing despite end of 'Golden hours', toll nears 600

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-06 21:25

Rescue ongoing despite end of 'Golden hours', toll nears 600

Rescuers search for survivors in a toppled house in quake-hit areas in Southwest China's Yunnan province, on Aug 6, 2014.  [Photo/Xinhua]

LUDIAN, Yunnan - Rescuers are continuing to comb through quake rubble in southwest China, after the expiry of the 72 hour "golden period" when finding survivors becomes much less likely.

Another 179 people were confirmed dead Wednesday, taking the death toll near to 600.

Most of the latest casualties were reported in Ludian and Qiaojia counties, where rescuers are concerned by the growing threat of barrier lakes, created when landslides block rivers.

Key Points

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake rattled Longtoushan Township, Southwest China's Yunnan province at 4:30 pm Sunday.

At least 589 people dead, 9 missing and 2,401 injured

Risks loom over a growing barrier lake with a water volume of 49.6 million cubic meters

Latest report 

Photos: Rescue work continues
 Rescued 'earthquake baby' brings hope



As the search goes on, "miracles" inspire optimism among rescuers. Two senior residents of Babao Village, aged 88 and 76, were pulled from the debris about 50 hours after the disaster. Both are in a stable condition.

Figures from the National Health and Family Planning Commission showed that 2,833 people had been treated for their injuries as of 4 pm Tuesday, with 1,295 of them hospitalized. Among those hospitalized, 122 are seriously injured and another 40 critically.


Rescuers and search dogs are now working in remote, sparsely populated areas and officials attribute Wednesday's sharp rise in reported casualties to the inaccessibility and remoteness of villages.

Downpours and traffic disruptions have put acute time pressure on rescuers and the likelihood of finding survivors declines every minute. On a ruined street of Longtoushan, an orange-clad soldier and her dog continue their search for survivors as helicopters hover overhead.

"The 'golden 72 hours' are up, but we'll keep with our mission and not give up hope," said Dai Yajuan, 23, of Chengdu Military Area Command.

On Monday, Dai and her colleagues recovered the bodies of three women from their collapsed home. Seventy rescuers from Dai's engineering corps have retrieved a dozen bodies.

On a heap of rubble, Wang Ping, 39, silently watches a group of police attempting to reach her husband and son buried in their home. On Tuesday morning, Wang saw the legs of her husband and a detector has located her son. Both were in the second floor when the building collapsed. A whole day has gone by and rescuers are still digging.

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