Earthquake in China leaves at least 589 dead with dozens more still buried under debris

A rescue worker tries to help his colleague to get out from under the debris of a house at the earthquake zone in Longtoushan town, Ludian county, Zhaotong, Yunan province, August 6, 2014. An earthquake in China on the weekend triggered landslides that have blocked rivers and created rapidly growing bodies of water that could unleash more destruction on survivors of the disaster that killed 410 people, state media reported on Tuesday. REUTERS/Wong Campion (CHINA - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

A rescue worker tries to help his colleague to get out from under the debris of a house at the earthquake zone in Longtoushan town, Ludian county, Zhaotong, Yunan province, August 6, 2014. An earthquake in China on the weekend triggered landslides that have blocked rivers and created rapidly growing bodies of water that could unleash more destruction on survivors of the disaster that killed 410 people, state media reported on Tuesday. REUTERS/Wong Campion (CHINA – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

The death toll in southern China’s earthquake rose to 589 today as search and rescue teams pushed into isolated mountain communities to clear debris from collapsed homes.

(SOURCE)  The Yunnan provincial government said more than 2,400 people were injured in Sunday’s 6.1 magnitude quake in the mountainous Yunnan farming region of Ludian county – the country’s deadliest tremor in four years.

At a makeshift headquarters in the forecourt of a cracked middle school in the worst-hit town of Longtoushan, a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army said there might still be hope to find survivors.

‘There are a lot of people that we may never be able to dig out,’ said senior Col. Feng, who declined to give his full name because he was not an officially designated spokesman. ‘But there is still hope.’

Wednesday’s big jump in the death toll – up from 410 on Tuesday – was due to rescuers arriving in places where they had previously been unable to contact anybody, in small farming villages built into the mountains above the main towns, said Feng, a military officer based in Sichuan province.

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