Qinghai authorities pledge to assist quake orphans

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Northwest China's Qinghai provincial government Monday pledged to care for children orphaned in last week's earthquake in Yushu county.

A statement from Qinghai's civil affairs department said the authorities were still ascertaining the exact number of quake orphans who had no other family to live with.

Adoptions of the orphans would begin after other major quake-relief work, such as treating the injured and ensuring food and water supplies, was completed.

Many people had contacted the government to ask about adoption, said a spokesman from Qinghai's Civil Affairs Department.

The 7.1-magnitude quake, which struck the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu at 7:49 a.m. Wednesday, had left 1,944 dead and 12,135 injured, as of 8 a.m. Monday, the rescue headquarters said.

As of Monday, only 13 of Sichuan's 623 quake orphans had been legally adopted, with the others in the care of welfare homes, an official of the southwest Chinese province's government said.

The magnitude-8 quake that hit southwest China in May 12, 2008, killed more than 69,000 people. It also left nearly 18,000 missing and more than 374,000 injured.

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