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Sichuan quake death toll rises to nearly 10,000
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The death toll from Monday's earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province has climbed to nearly 10,000, according to the headquarters for disaster relief.

The figure climbed from more than 8,500 provided earlier Monday night by local authorities.

The Sichuan provincial seismological bureau said more than 1,180 tremors up to six magnitude have been recorded as of 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

Government in Shifang City of Deyang City, where a major chemical leak happened after the quake, said about 600 people died, including 81 students. As many as 2,300 people are still buried, in which 920 are students.

In Anxian County of Mianyang City, about 500 people died, and 85 percent of the houses in rural areas collapsed.

Dozens of military vehicles are heading to Beichuan County, where officials said about 80 percent of the buildings collapsed.

Escaped villagers said the old town of Beichuan was tightly covered by giant swaths of debris slides, and the new town also suffered grave damages, particularly kindergartens, primary and middle schools, and vocational schools.

The rescuers were stranded about 10 kilometers from the county.

Rocks slid down the mountains and piled upon boulders the size of a house which already jammed up the road sections.

Local villagers said the rocks came down in scary roaring noises when the quake occurred. They warned that it was very dangerous to move ahead, as the rock slides could push the vehicles down the hill and straight into a river that runs in the valley.

A victim injured in the earthquake is receiveing medical care at the entrance of Dujiangyan Scenic Area on May 12, 2008.

A victim injured in the earthquake is receiveing medical care at the entrance of Dujiangyan Scenic Area on May 12, 2008.

Many victims injured in the earthquake are receiveing medical care at the entrance of Dujiangyan Scenic Area on May 12, 2008.

61 killed in northwestern Shaanxi Province

At least 61 people were killed in northwest China's Shaanxi Province after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the neighboring Sichuan Province on Monday, local authorities said.

Meanwhile, 176 other people were injured, according to the Shaanxi Provincial Emergency Office.

The number of casualties is likely to increase further, the office said.

The powerful earthquake rocked Wenchuan County of Sichuan at 2:28 p.m. Monday and more than 8,000 people are feared dead in the province.

The tremor was also strongly felt in many other parts of the country, leading to building collapses, cutoff of water and power supplies, and chaos of transport and communications.

Rain to linger in area of SW China

Rain is forecast over much of southwest China's quake-stricken Sichuan Province over the next three days, possibly increasing the difficulties of rescue and relief work.

The Central Meteorological Station (CMS) said Monday much of Sichuan would have light or moderate showers and thundershowers between Monday evening and Wednesday morning.

"The western part of the Sichuan Basin will see heavier rain," said Yang Guiming, CMS chief forecaster.

Heavy rain and even thunderstorms could be an added problem in disaster relief work, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said in a statement later on Monday.

The National Satellite Meteorological Center was asked by the administration to increase monitoring and disaster analysis to the level-two contingency plan and provide timely weather information.

National and relevant provincial meteorological units would be on duty round the clock, it said.

The weather would turn cloudy from Wednesday evening to Thursday in quake-hit Sichuan, Yang said.

Rain was also forecast for parts of Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province as well as north China in the next three days.

Rain storms are expected in southwestern Yunnan Province.

A major earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County in the northwestern part of Sichuan Province at 2:28 p.m. Monday, claiming thousands of lives.

Quake closes major highways, expressways in SW China

Monday's major earthquake closed several major highways and expressways in southwestern Sichuan and northwestern Shaanxi provinces, according to the Ministry of Transport.

Transport along the expressway linking Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu and Mianyang city had been halted since 3:30 p.m., the ministry said in a statement.

By 8 p.m., the conditions of two highways running through Wenchuan county in Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, Sichuan Province, where the epicenter was located, remained unknown due to communications failures, it said.

Traffic was interrupted along several national and provincial highways through Aba, it added.

Landslides struck several highways in neighboring Shaanxi Province while the national highway linking it with Sichuan Province remained in operation, the statement said.

The local transport departments have been engaged in repairing damaged roads.

The quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County of Sichuan Province at 2:28 p.m. on Monday.

Sichuan quake death toll rises to 7,561

Major earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province has killed 7,651 people by 10 p.m. Monday in Sichuan alone, said the ad hoc headquarters for disaster relief headed by Premier Wen Jiabao in Sichuan.

The casualty calculation is still going on, the headquarters said.

By press time, disaster relief teams are obstructed in the city of Dujiangyan, less than 100 kilometers away from Wenchuan, as the only roads linking Wenchuan, the epicenter, and provincial capital Chengdu were damaged during the earthquake, according to Li Qianghua, director with the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Zhang Hongwei, spokesman of the China Seismologicial Bureau, told Xinhua at 9:30 p.m. Monday that the Wenchuan earthquake has affected more than half of the country's provinces and municipalities nationwide.

Tremors were reported in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing Municipalities, Ningxia, Qinghai, Gansu, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Yunnan, Hunan, Hubei, Yunnan, Guizhou, Henan and Jiangsu provinces, and Tibet Autonomous Region, Zhang said.

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