A massive earthquake struck central China on Monday, killing more than 8,500 people, trapping nearly 900 students under the rubble of their school and spilling ammonia from a chemical plant, state media reported.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake was among the worst to strike China in decades, devastating a hilly region of small cities and towns in Sichuan and nearby provinces. The official Xinhua News Agency said 8,533 people died in Sichuan and dozens of other deaths were reported elsewhere.
The earthquake sent thousands of people rushing out of buildings and into the streets hundreds of miles away in Beijing and Shanghai. The temblor was felt as far away as Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand.
The quake posed another challenge to a government already grappling with discontent over high inflation, explains Tim Seymour as well as trying to prepare for the Beijing Olympics this August.
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