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China quake death toll hits 69,226
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The death toll from the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province and its neighboring region increased by one from Monday's figure to reach 69,226 as of Thursday noon, according to a statement released by the State Council Information Office.

The number of people listed as missing and injured remained unchanged and stood at 17,923 and 374,643 respectively.

As of Thursday noon, a total of 1,486,405 survivors had been relocated.

Among the 96,544 who had been hospitalized for injuries, 92,686 have been discharged, the statement said.

Government spending on relief and reconstruction had exceeded 66.92 billion yuan (about 9.7 billion U.S. dollars), including 59.74 billion yuan from the central budget and 7.17 billion yuan from the local budget.

According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, domestic and foreign donations had reached 59.28 billion yuan in cash and goods by Thursday noon. Of this, 24.15 billion yuan had been forwarded to quake-hit areas.

About 1.58 million tents, 4.87 million quilts, 14.1 million garments, 3.16 million tonnes of fuel and 6.76 million tonnes of coal had been sent to the quake-hit areas, it said.

As of Wednesday, relief workers had built 658,400 temporary houses and another 2,600 were being installed.

Between Monday noon and Thursday noon, 611 aftershocks at or below magnitude 3.9 were monitored in the quake zone, while no aftershock at or above 4.0 magnitude were reported, according to the China Earthquake Administration. A total of 25,270 aftershocks had been detected since May 12.

The statement said 392,056 tonnes of grain and 9,435 tonnes of edible oil have been allocated to the quake zones from central reserves as of Wednesday. It also said that 127,937 of the 138,960 businesses damaged had reopened.

And 32,398 km of the 37,028 km ruptured telecommunication optical cable had been restored.

As of Thursday noon, 175,858 survivors had found jobs outside of the area, while another 671,774 were employed in their home towns.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)

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