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China publishes identities of 19,000 dead in May quake
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China has released a list of the identities of 19,065 of the estimated 69,000 people killed by the May 12 earthquake in the southwestern province of Sichuan, a local official said Friday.
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China.org.cn has independently verified the figure of 19,065 through an official source. It is the total number of people named on the first detailed list of victims of the quake, and is not the number of "dead students" as reported by Reuters, Associated Press and many other news outlets. The error was made due to an interpreter's misunderstanding at the press conference.

The list includes the name, birth place, where he or she was killed and other personal information of the dead, Wei Hong, executive vice provincial governor of Sichuan told a press conference.

It is the first time for the government to announced such detailed information about the dead and more lists will be published, he said.

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Wei did not provide a specific figure about the students toll.

"Because the total number of the people killed in the quake is still being checked, so there is still no final figure about the students toll," he said.

The 8.0-magnitude quake centered in Sichuan Wenchuan County left more than 69,000 people dead, 374,000 injured, 18,000 missing and millions homeless.

More than 31,000 aftershocks have been reported since, with the strongest measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale.

In terms of the intensity and scope of destruction, the May 12 quake is believed to have surpassed the 7.8-magnitude quake in 1976 in Tangshan, northern Hebei Province, which claimed more than 240,000 lives. 

(Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn November 21, 2008)

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