China Steps Up Rescue Operation (Videos Added)
The government is now estimating that the death toll from Monday’s earthquake could top 50,000. Rescue teams from Japan are expected to arrive on Friday, and teams from Hong Kong and Taiwan are also expected soon, reports Xinhua. The government has also made an appeal for heavy lifting equipment to help with rescue efforts. Watch a video report of rescue efforts in the village of Chenjiaba by the Guardian.
China is mobilising 30,000 extra troops and 90 helicopters to help with the rescue operation after Monday’s devastating earthquake.
About 10 million people in Sichuan province have been directly affected by the 7.9 quake that flattened entire villages, state media said.
Nearly 15,000 people are known to have been killed, and another 26,000 are still trapped in the rubble.
The extra troops will bring food and water, and help to rescue survivors.
Read also: China Races to Save Quake Victims from Time Magazine.
The Independent reports from the devastated town of Beichuan:
Every day I have reported the story of the Sichuan earthquake it has seemed impossible to imagine things getting worse. Hanwang, with its bodies lying everywhere, was grotesque. Dujiangyan, where hundreds of teenagers were dragged out dead from the mud, was nightmarish. But every day is worse than the next. No one knows what horrors await after Wenchuan, directly above the epicentre, is opened up. At this stage, there can be precious few survivors there. But Beichuan is a truly horrendous sight. The prospect of the death toll reaching beyond 50,000 looks increasingly likely.
Driving up along the valley, along the Chang Jiang, or Long River, which we call the Yangtze, a JCB carrying a mound of corpses wrapped in tarpaulin was an early sign that the scene in Beichuan was going to be harrowing. But it was worse, much worse, than I’d expected.
Shutters are pulled three-quarters of the way down on some shop fronts, and feet are visible beneath them, but the grocer’s and fruit shops they are meant to protect are just giant mounds of debris.
Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan is also in Beichuan, one of the areas hardest hit by the quake.
AP: The focus of rescue workers is starting to shift to a recovery mission. The death toll is already approaching 15,000 and that number is expected to skyrocket. (May 15)
French 24: While the earthquake’s death toll continues to rise, China has shown professionalism and commitment in its response to the devastation — despite the daunting nature of the task. How much of a surprise is this new openness?