1.5 million people affected by China quake

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More than 1.5 million people in southwest China's Sichuan Province have been affected by Saturday's strong earthquake, said the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Beijing Sunday.

The quake has affected 69 counties in the province, said the statement from the ministry.

"A large number of buildings collapsed and were damaged in the quake-hit area. The authorities are still checking the details since the communication and transport are not fully available," the statement said.

The quake also affected neighboring Chongqing Municipality and Yunnan Province, it said.

About 400 buildings were damaged and eight collapsed in Chongqing and around 900 buildings were damaged in Yunnan, it said.

A total of 180 people have been confirmed dead in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake, which hit Sichuan on Saturday morning, according to the provincial government.

More than 2,300 firemen have been engaged in rescue work, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Rescuers have covered all area of Lushan County, the epicenter of the quake, and several rescue teams struggled into neighboring Baoxing County, which has been isolated since the quake happened.

In addition, ten senior medical experts from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences rushed from Beijing to Sichuan on Sunday morning to help prevent the epidemic outbreak in the quake-hit areas.

They brought device to test and disinfect drinking water and food as well as protection device for medical workers, said the source with the academy.

The medical team also carried medicines to treat possible human infections of H7N9 avian flu, the sources said.

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