A Ministry of Health spokesman said in Beijing Monday that deep burial of earthquake victims in Sichuan had been "scientifically handled" and would not contaminate water sources.
Mao Qun'an said in an online interview with netizens at the central government's portal, www.gov.cn, quarantine task forces dug pits deeply under surface and sterilized dead bodies before burying them.
The 8.0-magnitude quake jolted southwest China's Sichuan, claiming at least 69,016 lives, leaving 18,830 missing, injuring 368,545 and displacing 15 million people, up-to-date official statistics said.
The debris left over by the major quake and several big after-shocks impeded roads to the outside, which made it difficult to move the dead who resided in remote villages out for cremation, Mao said.
Mao said the ministry had tried all out to prevent water sources, particularly those for drinking, from possible contamination.
(Xinhua News Agency June 2, 2008)