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China quake: Official death toll 32,477

Source: PTI
May 18, 2008 20:01 IST
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The confirmed death toll from the devastating earthquake in southwest China rose to 32,477 on Sunday, amid fears that it may go up further with thousands of people still buried under the debris of collapsed buildings, six days after the temblor struck the country.

In Sichuan province alone, 31,978 people were killed , the emergency response office under the State Council or the cabinet was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.

The 7.8 magnitude quake has left 2,20,109 persons injured, it said.

China has mobilised nearly 1,30,000 troops and put its relief operations in high gear after gaining access to the cut off quake-hit areas in the mountainous region.

"Rescuers should go all out and leave no dead angle or blind spot while looking for the victims," Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told a meeting of the general headquarters of quake relief under the State Council.

An aftershock measuring six on the Richter scale jolted Jiangyou county today, causing cracks in the mountain and seriously damaging the roads leaving huge crevices, Xinhua said.

There were no casualties. The Seismological Bureau has recorded 146 aftershocks of 4 or higher magnitude since Monday.

Bad weather, treacherous terrain and aftershocks have often compounded the problems for rescuers, who have reached the areas near the epicentre even on foot after battling many odds.

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