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BEIJING, Apr 19 – An elderly woman and four-year-old girl were rescued Monday from under the rubble of a collapsed building five days after the killer earthquake in northwestern China, state media said.

Wujin Cuomao, 68, and the young Cairen Baji had been trapped for more than 123 hours when rescuers finally managed to pull them out alive in Jiegu, the hard-hit town near the epicentre of last Wednesday\’s quake in Qinghai province.

Officials have said at least 1,944 people have died in the earthquake, which also left more than 12,000 injured and tens of thousands homeless.

The China News Service said relatives of the two rescued survivors kept them alive by passing food and water through gaps in the debris.

It was not clear whether the two, who appeared to be ethnic Ticapitalfmnewns, were related.

State television broadcast images of a healthy-looking Wujin Cuomao, her wrinkled face looking anxious as rescuers put her on a stretcher.

Another rescue worker clad in orange was shown holding the girl in his arms as he sat in an emergency vehicle.

Rescue work at the quake zone continued Monday amid fading hopes of finding many more survivors, and as authorities warned cold weather and possible rain and snow could bring more misery in the days ahead.

Experts say that the chances of finding trapped victims surviving such disasters drops off sharply after the first 72 hours.

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