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Sichuan quake death toll rises to nearly 10,000
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Patients from the Longnan Municipal No. 1 People's Hospital were evacuated and being treated in makeshift tents on the streets because large cracks had appeared in the building of the hospital.

"Stampede accidents have been reported in some schools in Longnan," said Zhang Lixin, a press official of Longnan City of Gansu. He did not provide details about the casualties.

In the neighboring Tianshui City, seven people have been killed and 29 others injured, vice mayor Guo Qiruo said.

"The exact number of casualties is still being counted," he said.

Currently, the latest number of casualties in Gansu is not available.

In Sichuan, nearly 10,000 people were feared dead.

The powerful tremor was also strongly felt in many other parts of the country, including Beijing, Shanghai and Tibet.

In regions neighboring Sichuan, 85 were killed in Shaanxi Province, 50 in Chongqing Municipality, one in Yunnan Province and one in Henan Province.

The quake was the worst to strike China since the Tangshan earthquake in north China's Hebei Province in 1976, which claimed 242,000 lives.

Xiang'e middle school, Dujiangyan: hundreds of students buried

More students have been found buried at a school in Dujiangyan City, one of the worst-hit cities in Sichuan, as rescue operations continue.

Officials in the Xiang'e Township middle school in Dujiangyan, about 100 km from epicenter Wenchuan, said fewer than 100 students out of 420 students survived after a powerful quake brought down a major teaching building in the school.

Towards dawn, rescuers were disassembling the debris to recover the bodies of students stuck in misshaped cement structures. Blood stains were seen at some of the distorted steel bars from the building.

The fresh reports added to an earlier account that 900 students were feared buried in building wreckages in the Juyuan Middle School in Juyuan Township in Dujiangyan.

As of 3 a.m. on Tuesday, rescuers had recovered more than 60 bodies.

More than 1,000 people, including armed policemen, were rescuing the buried victims. Eight excavators and five cranes were brought in for rescue work and an ambulance waited.

The 7.8-magnitude quake, which struck Sichuan at 2:28 p.m. on Monday, has left more than 8,500 people dead in Sichuan. Severe casualties were also reported in neighboring provinces.

The Chinese government launched emergency rescue operations in the quake-jolted zones. Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Chengdu on Monday afternoon and is in Dujiangyan to direct the rescue work.

China's Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Finance have allocated 200 million yuan (about 28.6 million U.S. dollars) for disaster relief work. Medical workers and troops have been sent in to reinforce search and rescue operations.

Isolated epicenter Wenchuan appeals for emergency aid

An official of Wenchuan County, the epicenter of a strong earthquake that struck southwest China Monday, appealed for emergency aid via a satellite phone early Tuesday, almost 11 hours after the county was cut off from the outside world.

"We are in urgent need of tents, food, medicine and satellite communications equipment through air drop. We also need medical workers to save the injured people here," said Wang Bin, Communist Party secretary of Wenchuan County, Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, Sichuan Province.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Wenchuan at 2:28 p.m. Monday. A number of aftershocks have been recorded.

Rescuers are yet to reach Wenchuan, 159 km northwest of the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu, because all roads leading to the county have been destroyed by landslides and telecommunication links have also been cut.

At about 1:15 a.m. on Tuesday, He Biao, deputy secretary-general of the Aba prefectural government finally reached Wang Bin via a satellite phone, according to a statement posted on the website of the prefectural government.

"Wang Bin said between sobs that most of farmers' houses had collapsed in two townships, and most of the houses in the county seat are in danger," the statement said. "More than 30,000 residents stay outdoors in the county seat and dare not go home."

Latest figures show that at least 15 people were killed in Wenchuan, and 307 others injured, 36 severely, according to the statement.

"(But) there is still no news about the situation in the townships of Yingxiu, Wolong and Xuankou, which are located exactly at the epicenter," it said.

The three townships have a total population of more than 24,000, it said.

Wenchuan administers 13 townships and has a total population of 105,436. The county seat lies at the Weizhou Township.

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