XINING, China — Soldiers and civilians used shovels and their bare hands to dig through collapsed buildings in search of survivors after strong earthquakes struck a mountainous Tibetan region of China on Wednesday, killing at least 589 people and injuring more than 10,000.
The initial quake, measured at magnitude-6.9 by the U.S. Geological Survey and 7.1 by the China Earthquake Networks Center, was followed by several strong aftershocks.
President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao urged "all-out efforts" to rescue survivors and dispatched a vice premier to supervise. The government early Thursday allocated $30 million for relief, and mobilized more than 5,000 soldiers, medical workers and other rescuers, joining 700 troops already there.
The quakes flattened buildings across remote western Yushu county and sent survivors, many bleeding from their wounds, flooding into the streets of Jiegu township. State television showed block after devastated block of toppled mud and wood homes. Local officials said 85 percent of the structures had been destroyed.
Residents and troops garrisoned in the town used shovels and their hands to pull survivors and bodies from the rubble much of the day. Several schools collapsed, with the state news agency saying at least 56 students died.