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China Earthquake Death Toll Rises to 55,740   by jackyluo

The known death toll from China's major earthquake increased by 4,589 overnight to 55,740 as of Friday noon, according to the Information Office of the State Council (cabinet).

Another 292,481 people were counted as injured and 24,960 were still listed as missing as a result of the 8.0-magnitude quake centered in the southwestern Sichuan Province on May 12.

Meanwhile, 11.37 million displaced quake survivors were relocated, the office said.

An elderly couple, aged 92 and 84, were rescued on Friday after they had been stranded in an isolated mountain in Sichuan for 11 days because of the devastating earthquake.

The childless couple, Tian Yueqing and Cao Shuyun, lost contact with their fellow villagers and were trapped in their cottage in Tai'an Village atop Qingcheng Mountain, which is close to Dujiangyan City.

An Armed Police rescue team found them during a large-scale search and carried them by stretcher to another village at the foot of the mountain.

The Ministry of Health said that 3,451 people injured in the quake had died in hospitals as of Friday at noon.

Hospitals have admitted 73,939 injured people since the quake. By noon on Friday, 38,683 people had been treated and discharged while 28,377 were still being treated, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, 3,428 patients have been transferred outside of Sichuan for further treatment and 86,517 medical staff from around the country were working in the quake areas.

As of Friday noon, domestic and foreign donations had reached 24.6 billion yuan (3.5 billion U.S. dollars), up 3.2 billion yuan overnight, according to the Information Office. So far, 3 billion yuan had been forwarded to the earthquake-affected areas.

Meanwhile, 443,340 tents, one of the most urgently needed relief supplies, had been delivered to quake regions, the office said.

The Chinese government had said it needs some 3 million tents to house the displaced. President Hu Jintao visited two tent manufacturers in east China's Zhejiang Province on Thursday, urging them to produce more qualified tents to meet the needs of the quake-hit zone.

The government has also appealed for more tents from international donors for the survivors.

At the same time, 18,334 makeshift houses, 2,319,347 quilts and3,074,526 garments had been sent to these regions.

About 315,000 tons of fuel and 679,000 tons of coal were sent to these regions as of Friday noon.

The government disaster relief fund reached 14.6 billion yuan as of 2 p.m. on Friday, up 654 million yuan from the previous day, according to the Finance Ministry. The fund included 10.826 billion yuan from the central budget and 3.8 billion yuan from local budgets.

A total of 175 aftershocks measuring above four on the Richter scale had been monitored in the quake areas by midday Friday, according to the China Seismological Bureau.

Of these, 27 measured above magnitude 5 and four above magnitude 6.

Power supply was restored in most areas, with Beichuan County (one of the worst-hit places) and Hongyuan County remaining blacked out. Lixian county had seen electricity cut off again due to aftershocks, while power had been fully restored in Jiuzhaigou, a tourist attraction, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission said in a statement.

On Friday, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) sent a helicopter and an airplane to Sichuan to help with the epidemic prevention work, and a 20-member medical team sent by the Macao SAR government flew to the quake area, bringing a large amount of medical material, said the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.


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