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Three freed from rubble five days after Tibet quake

A little girl, elderly lady and a woman have been pulled alive from the more than five days after an earthquake devastated a cut-off Tibetan community. Amid flurries of snow and freezing temperatures, four-year-old Cairen Baiji and Wujian Cuomao, 68, were freed from the wreckage of a mud-built house. The pair had been trapped when it collapsed early on Wednesday morning. They were buried by packed earth but survived because they had hidden under a bed. Their families and neighbours kept them alive by using bamboo poles to push food and water through gaps in the rubble. The pair were freed at about lunchtime yesterday.After their rescue, about 130 hours after the 7.1 magnitude tremor hit north western Yushu county, a 34-year-old woman was pulled out of the ruins. The woman, called Ripu, was found half-buried by rescuers who started a blanket search from the county town Jiegu and into remote hillside villages.

Wujian Cuomao was in a critical and rushed to hospital. Ripu was also sent to hospital, but in a stable condition. The little girl was diagnosed with heart problems, because of the trauma of being trapped, The Times newspaper reported. But she recovered quickly and doctors said she just needed rest. The earthquake wrecked about 15,000 homes in and around the impoverished Yushu county, and forced more than 100,000 people out of the area.

About 5 million people live in Qinghai province which is a gateway to Himalayan Tibet. Roughly half the people are Han Chinese, but there are more than 40 ethnic groups, living there including Tibetans, Hui and Mongols.The number of dead has now risen to 1,944 with 216 still missing after what is dubbed the deadliest tremor to strike China since an earthquake in 2008 killed 90,000 people living on the same fault line. About 1,000 of the dead were buried or cremated in mass funerary pyres at the weekend. Officials say 12,315 people have been injured.

Tomorrow, China will stop all public entertainment and lower flags to half mast as the nation mourns the dead.The Chinese government has put aside about £16m (200 million yuan) to pay for the relief effort, Chinas Ministry of Civil Affairs said. US Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman Jr presented two cheques worth a total of £65,000 to the Red Cross Society of China and the Qinghai Provincial Red Cross.

Hayley attribution