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More Chinese children pulled out from school ruins

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A total of 360 schoolchildren, buried under the ruins of their high school in Beichuan County, Sichuan Province, have been pulled out alive following a powerful quake Monday, local media said on Friday.
BEIJING, May 16 (RIA Novosti) - A total of 360 schoolchildren, buried under the ruins of their high school in Beichuan County, Sichuan Province, have been pulled out alive following a powerful quake Monday, local media said on Friday.

However, rescue workers fear that more that 700 children are still beneath the debris.

The massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale destroyed over 6,000 school buildings. In one school alone 300 children were killed when a three-storey building collapsed burying over 850 pupils in Qingchuan.

State sources said the death toll from the quake could soar to over 50,000 Thursday. The official death toll stands at 21,500 with thousands still unaccounted for.

And according to troops, who arrived in the town of Yinxiu in Wenchuan Country close to the earthquake's epicenter, only around 2,300 people from a population of 9,000 are believed to have survived.

The country's State Council said on Thursday that the death toll could soar to over 50,000. The official death toll currently stands at 21,500 with thousands still unaccounted for.

The high rate of school buildings that collapsed in the quake has forced Chinese authorities to order a comprehensive inquiry into the state of the region's educational facilities.

The Xinhua news agency cited the development and planning head at the education ministry, Han Jin, as saying "If quality problems do exist in the school buildings, we will deal with the persons responsible strictly with no toleration and give the public a satisfying answer."

According to media reports, buildings most affected by the quake are built of bricks and concrete blocks, while safer modern schools and institutions, such as those in Beijing and Shanghai, are made of steel and concrete.

Meanwhile, a plane carrying a group of 29 Russian rescue specialists arrived at Chengdu, the capital of the disaster-hit Sichuan province.

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