This article was copied in full from Reuters with permission.....please keep these people in your prayers, many schools were hit, they believe that 18,000 may be buried alive and they are running out of time. (death tolls have risen from this article to 12,000 and they fear they will just continue to rise)Link to English version of Chinese News updates on the Earthquake
POWERFUL QUAKE HITS SOUTHWEST
The death toll from the most devastating earthquake to hit China in three decades is expected to rise as authorities and rescue teams make contact with the worst-hit areas of Sichuan province, where roads and phone lines have been cut off since the quake struck.
A website for the region's Aba prefecture said the quake had cut several major highways in the region and communications were down in 11 counties.
The quake's epicentre was in the Sichuan county of Wenchuan and its force caused buildings to sway across China and as far away as the Thai capital Bangkok. Buildings toppled in at least six counties near the epicentre, official news agency Xinhua said.
Several schools and at least one hospital were also reported to have collapsed. Mountainous Wenchuan has a population of about 100,000 people.
Premier Wen Jiabao rushed to the area and President Hu Jintao ordered an "all-out" rescue effort, Xinhua reported. Thousands of army troops and paramilitary People's Armed Police carrying medical supplies were also headed to the region, state television said. The U.S.
Geological Survey said on its website that the main quake struck at 0628 GMT at a depth of 10 km (6 miles). An employee at the local newspaper in Mianyang said there had been several earthquakes. USGS said there had been numerous aftershocks.
Xinhua said there was no immediate impact to the Three Gorges Dam project, hundreds of kilometres from Chengdu. Experts have said the weight of its massive reservoir could increase the risk of tremors.
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