China Babies Adoption Research

China Babies Adoption Research
China Babies Adoption Research

Sunday, May 25, 2008

China puts death toll at 50000

China puts death toll at 50000
Daily Dispatch
May 22 2008 8:46AM

CHINA said yesterday that more than 50000 people were estimated to have died in the devastating earthquake that hit the southwestern province of Sichuan on Monday.

The government’s disaster relief office announced the estimate via state media, following an earlier report of more than 19500 confirmed deaths in Sichuan and at least 300 more in nearby regions.

Troops stepped up efforts to rescue survivors and get vital aid to tens of thousands of people in isolated towns and villages in Sichuan yesterday.

Dozens of extra helicopters and planes were brought in to drop food, clothing and bedding to residents of Sichuan’s worst-hit counties of Beichuan and Wenchuan.

The government said it would allow the first foreign rescue teams, from Japan and Taiwan, into Sichuan and was considering an offer of help from an Australian team.

It also imposed temporary controls on food prices and transportation fares in Sichuan and three neighbouring regions to “stem hoarding and speculation”, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The move followed reports that some food vendors in Sichuan’s Mianyang city, where nearly 20000 people were reported missing in collapsed buildings, were fined for raising prices to more than double pre- quake levels.

Sichuan hospitals had treated more than 64000 people hurt in the quake by yesterday, including about 12600 seriously injured people, Gao Qiang, the deputy minister of health, said.

The Beijing military command said its troops had found 38 survivors with the help of sniffer dogs.

Damage to several dams and rivers has posed new threats to some quake- hit towns and villages.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who flew over Wenchuan in a helicopter on Wednesday, ordered an extra 90 military and civilian helicopters to be used in the relief operations, Xinhua said.

Railway ministry spokesperson Wang Yongping said 844 freight cars were en route to Sichuan carrying 79700 tents, 828600 boxes of water, 18870 doses of medicine and 351100 overcoats and blankets.

At least 26000 people were believed to be buried in collapsed buildings, while Xinhua said more than 30000 people were missing or out of contact in Sichuan’s city of Shifang alone.

At least 10000 Chinese and foreign tourists were still stranded in two scenic areas close to the epicentre on Wednesday night, reports said.

But the extent of the damage and casualties in Wenchuan, which has a population of 105000, remained unclear. A paramilitary officer who was one of the first outsiders to reach some of the worst affected areas on Tuesday said that several towns were almost razed to the ground.

Heavy rain had initially prevented helicopters from flying emergency aid to Wenchuan. — Sapa-DPA

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