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Rain looms after quakes

BEIJING – Survivors of multiple earthquakes in southwestern China waited for shelter and other supplies today amid forecasts of heavy rains that are likely to hinder search efforts.

The temblors Friday in a mountainous area toppled thousands of homes and sent boulders tumbling down slopes, killing 81 and injuring more than 800.

They struck a region of small farms and mines near the border between Guizhou and Yunnan provinces, where some of China’s poorest people live.

About 60,000 residents from Jiaokui town in Yiliang county, about 2 miles from the epicenter of one of the earthquakes, had been evacuated to open spaces, an official surnamed Guo said by telephone from the township government office.

Guo said only the older survivors had tents, and that food, water, cotton quilts, clothes and medicine were also needed.

The region was expected to be hit by medium to heavy rains today and Tuesday, bringing the threat of rain-triggered landslides that could cause more casualties and complicate search efforts, rescuers said.

The first magnitude-5.6 quake struck just before 11:30 a.m. Friday and was followed by an equally strong quake shortly after noon.

As of noon Sunday, there had been 279 aftershocks, a spokesman for Yunnan’s seismological bureau said.


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