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Death toll in China earthquake approaching 30,000

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The number of people killed in the powerful earthquake that struck southwest China on Monday now stands at nearly 29,000, a Chinese Cabinet spokesman told journalists on Saturday.
BEIJING, May 17 (RIA Novosti) - The number of people killed in the powerful earthquake that struck southwest China on Monday now stands at nearly 29,000, a Chinese Cabinet spokesman told journalists on Saturday.

Guo Weimin said that 28,881 people had lost their lives, and that 19,834 had been injured in the deadliest earthquake to hit China for more than thirty years. A State Council official had previously said at least 50,000 people were believed to have been killed in the disaster.

The quake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, affected eight provinces, with Sichuan suffering the bulk of the devastation. Around 80% of buildings have been destroyed in some areas.

Some 130,000 Chinese soldiers are involved in relief efforts. Rescue workers have also arrived in the quake-stricken region from Russia, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore.

The Chinese government has allocated over $160 million in emergency aid for the quake-hit areas, while Chinese citizens have donated over $125 million to help the victims of the earthquake.

Thousands of people have been pulled alive from the rubble of collapsed buildings.

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