KUNMING, China — Rescuers found scores of survivors on Monday as they dug through homes shattered by an earthquake in southern China that killed at least 398 people and injured more than 1,800. Rainstorms were expected to continue to hinder rescue efforts over the coming days.
About 12,000 homes collapsed when the quake struck Sunday afternoon in impoverished Ludian county, around 230 miles northeast of Yunnan province's capital, Kunming, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Rescuers digging in the debris by hand freed a 5-year-old boy whose legs were injured, Xinhua reported. It also said firefighters rescued 32 people who had been trapped but had retrieved the bodies of 43 residents.
Drenched survivors, some half-naked, were sitting along muddy roads in the rain waiting for food and medication, Xinhua reported. Medics were reporting severe shortages of medicine and an inability to perform operations on the severely injured, while rescuers said their work had been hampered by continuous downpours and quake-triggered landslides, Xinhua said.
Ma Yaoqi, an 18-year-old volunteer in the quake zone, said by phone that at least half of the buildings had collapsed on the road from the city center of Zhaotong to the hardest-hit town of Longtou. The rest of the buildings were damaged, she said.
"I saw dead bodies being wrapped in quilts and carried away," said Ma, who arrived with 20 other volunteers Monday.
The magnitude-6.1 quake struck at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at a depth of 6 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The mountainous region is prone to earthquakes.