At least 300 dead after Chinese earthquake

Thousands more injured after massive tremor strikes remote area in north-west China.

At least 300 people are dead, with thousands more injured or trapped in rubble, after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck north-west China early today.

The massive tremor was one of six to hit the remote Yushu county, Qinghai province. It struck at 7.49am local time (11.49pm GMT).

Army trucks are rushing to the area, 800km (500 miles) south-west of the provincial capital Xining, to mount a rescue effort. The area is hundreds of miles from a major airport.

Witnesses have reported that many brick and wood buildings have collapsed. One official told journalists that more than 85 per cent of buildings near the epicenter had given way.

Yushu county is a largely Tibetan area, primarily made up of herders and farmers. The scattered nature of the population has made the damage relatively difficult to assess.

In 2008, a huge earthquake struck neighbouring Sichuan province, leaving 87,000 people dead or missing, and an estimated 5 million homeless.