China Mourns for Quake Dead

A national day of mourning was held on Wednesday in China for the victims of last week's earthquake in the country's Qinghai province.

Flags flew at half mast and public entertainment was cancelled for the day, including several television stations and internet sites. Other major websites in the country have changed their header to a black or grey color.

Three minutes of silence were observed at 10 a.m. local time, while sirens and horns sounded as a gesture of grief.

The 6.9-magnitude quake hit the country one week ago, killing over 2000 people and injuring 12,000.

Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless by the disaster, many of them braving nearly freezing temperatures while their homes are being rebuilt. Another 195 people are reported missing.

Relief agencies including World Vision, Caritas and the ACT Alliance are on the ground alongside the Chinese government providing aid and assistance to survivors.

Food, water, blankets, medical supplies and other daily necessities such as candles are being shipped to the region, but difficult weather conditions have slowed transport.

"It is snowing, the roads are very slippery. Our staff have difficulties coping with the altitude," said F. Paul Han, vice director of Caritas partner Jinde Charities. "But we need to get aid to the people suffering from freezing temperatures up there. Aid is getting to the area around the epicentre, but people in the remote areas are suffering the most."

The quake is the worst to hit the country since 2008's tremor in the Sichuan province, which killed nearly 80,000 people. Many relief agencies were still tending to the 2008 quake's aftermath when last week's tremor hit.

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