China puts final death toll from Qinghai quake at 2,698

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The death toll from the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that jolted Yushu of northwest China's Qinghai Province on April 14 has climbed to 2,698, with 270 people still missing, vice governor Zhang Guangrong said Monday.

Among the victims, 2,687 had been identified and the identities of 11 bodies remained unknown, Zhang told a press conference in the provincial capital of Xining.

Zhang said the dead included 199 primary and middle school students and a Hong Kong resident.

Zhang said many residents had buried the dead without reporting the fatalities to the authorities, and some bodies had been recovered since the quake, which had raised the death toll.

He did not exclude the possibility that the death toll could rise further as workers were still clearing the quake-ravaged areas.

The rescue headquarters said on April 26 that the quake had left at least 2,220 people dead and 70 missing.

The provincial government has earmarked 2.363 billion yuan (346 million U.S. dollars) as quake relief funds to the quake-hit regions, including 775 million yuan from the central authorities and 1.41 billion yuan from public donations.


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