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Earthquake death toll rises to 40
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The death toll in Saturday's 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces has risen to 40 and 675 people were injured, local authorities said yesterday.

Huili county in the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, the worst-hit region in Sichuan, registered five more deaths as of 8 am yesterday, raising the death toll to 32 in the province.

The publicity department of the Chuxiong Yi autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province, said one more body was retrieved on Sunday evening, taking the death toll to six there.

More than 941,000 people have been affected in the two provinces. Some 392,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged.

More than 900 medical workers have also been sent to the two provinces.

More than 15,120 tents, 20,000 quilts and 15 million yuan ($2.2 million) in aid have been allocated to the quake areas in Sichuan. The Yunnan provincial government will allocate 30 million yuan for quake relief apart from tents and quilts, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Chen Kefu, spokesman of the Sichuan provincial department of civil affairs, said 120 tents will be used as temporary schools.

The quake, which struck on Saturday, damaged 66 schools in Panzhihua. The schools are expected to reopen next Monday, Xiao Lijun, chief of the city's publicity department, said.

Before Saturday's quake, Sichuan had stored 8,500 tents in Panzhihua and the Liangshan, surplus from the May 12 quake, Chen said.

But Panzhihua still needs an additional 15,000 tents as 200,000 people have been affected in the city, deputy mayor Liu Kangjian said.

The Lixi district of Huili was one of the hardest hit, Dai Fazhong, deputy chief of the Huili county publicity department, said

The district hospital's computers and other medical equipment have been destroyed in the quake, Fazhong said.

"The hospital cannot carry out operations. It faces a shortage of antibiotics and disinfectants," he said.

Cheng Wanzheng, a researcher with the Sichuan provincial seismological bureau, said Saturday's quake was not an aftershock of the May 12 one.

Following the May 12 quake, crustal stress of the Wenchuan region is now very high, and because it has undergone a change, the Panzhihua quake is a result of that stress.

(China Daily September 2, 2008)

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