China mourns quake dead
China Wednesday started a day of mourning for the victims of last week's earthquake, with flags to be flown at half-mast across the country and public entertainment suspended, AFP reported.
A week after the quake on the Tibetan Plateau, the death toll stands at 2,064, with 175 others missing, according to state media.
Another 12,000 people have been injured and tens of thousands left homeless by the 6.9-magnitude quake which struck a remote corner of Qinghai province.
The government declared Wednesday a national day of mourning and ordered that all public entertainment activities be suspended for the day.
News organisations also ran black banners on their websites. "China mourns quake victims" Xinhua said, while the China Daily website banner read "Sharing sorrow, moving forward."
A television charity show broadcast nationwide Tuesday evening raised 2.175 billion yuan (320 million dollars) to help quake victims, state media reported.
The relief effort in the rugged region however has been hampered by bad weather and altitude sickness which has hit many of the rescuers unused to the elevation of around 4,000 metres (more than 13,000 feet).
Rescuers have continued to sift through rubble in the town of Jiegu, the disaster zone's main population centre, as snow fell in some parts of the region, slowing traffic and delivery of relief supplies, press reports said.
Ma Yuancang, deputy head of Qinghai's meteorological bureau, said ice had formed on the surface of some roads in the area, making it dangerous for vehicles to drive, Xinhua reported.
The snow and plummeting temperatures added to the difficulties of devastated survivors camping outside after thousands of their mudbrick-and-wood homes collapsed.
"We estimate that in the next few days, the rain, snow and low temperatures will harm relief work and (those working in) transport, medicine and health should strengthen their guard," the National Meteorological Centre said.
Temperatures could sink to as low as minus four degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit), the centre said.
More than 12,700 soldiers and paramilitary police were now taking part in rescue work, PLA Major General Wang Zhenguo told reporters in Beijing Tuesday.
Tibetan Buddhist monks in maroon and saffron robes were also involved in the rescue effort amid hopes of finding more survivors after three miracle rescues.
Two Tibetan women and a four-year-old girl were pulled out of the rubble on Monday, more than five days after the quake. State television said Tuesday workers had found signs of life in the ruins, but no rescue had yet been reported.