Rescue and relief operations gained momentum in China's Xinjiang province on Tuesday (Feb. 25), even as aftershocks continued to rattle the region devastated by Monday's powerful earthquake.
At least 265 people were killed and more than 2,000 others were injured by the quake, which struck early Monday morning and quickly reduced nearly 9,000 homes to piles of rubble. Some of those killed included children trapped in collapsed school buildings. Around 900 school classrooms were damaged or destroyed in the quake.
According to Chinese officials, the temblor registered a magnitude 6.8, while the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 6.3-magnitude.
Immediately following the disaster, rescue crews and military personnel were joined by quake survivors as they searched for people trapped amid the mountains of wreckage, an effort which was boosted on Tuesday with the delivery of heavy lifting equipment.
Also arriving Tuesday was a special 42-member search team from Beijing, equipped with dogs trainied to locate bodies, as well as 6,000 tents and other relief items.
The tents were a welcome sight to many residents who have yet to return indoors since the disaster struck. Shortly after Monday's quake, residents flooded the streets and opted to spend the day and night outside rather than return to their homes, fearing another quake would bring their now unstable walls crashing down.
The continued seismic activity in the region has done little to alleviate their fears. Following the large earthquake, series of aftershocks have rocked the Xinjiang province, including one on Tuesday with a magnitude of 5.7.
It was not immediately known whether the severe aftershock caused any additional damages.
The Chinese Red Cross has also contributed relief items, including clothing and quilts, to warm those left homeless. Their efforts are being boosted by the dispatch of an emergency relief team from the Xinjiang Provincial branch of the Red Cross, based in the region's capital, Urumqi, who traveled to the quake zone on Monday to deliver the supplies.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a Beijing-based representative from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Federation) was sent to the devastated region, to work with the Chinese Red Cross in determining the need for international assistance.
The Federation is on stand-by to offer financial and technical assistance if requested.
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