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Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 14:06 UK

China earthquake toll tops 40,000

Local people walk through the remains of the town of Hanwang
There is little hope of finding more survivors

The death toll from last week's earthquake in south-west China has risen to 40,075, officials have said.

Chinese aid workers are struggling to find shelter for millions who lost their homes. Foreign medical teams have started arriving in the area.

Tens of thousands more are still missing, and hopes are fading of finding many people still alive.

However, Chinese media say a woman was pulled from the rubble 195 hours - or eight days - after the disaster.

It was the second rescue on Tuesday. Earlier, a man was pulled alive from the remains of a power plant after being buried for 179 hours, local media said. Rescuers fed him sweetened water through a tube.

The rescue effort has now focused on providing food, shelter and drinking water for the millions of people affected by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan province.

Rescuers have launched a final effort to search all affected area.

On Monday Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao ordered troops to reach every single town and village in the earthquake zone within 24 hours.

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Man pulled alive from collapsed building eight days after quake

China is on its second day of a three-day period of mourning for victims of the disaster.

Flags are flying at half-mast, entertainment events have been cancelled and the Olympic torch relay suspended.

Aid appeal

A statement by the State Council, China's cabinet, said 236,359 people had been injured in the quake.

QUAKE STATISTICS
map
Up to Tuesday 20 May:
40,075 dead
247,645 injured
145 confirmed aftershocks above level 4, 23 above level 5, biggest 6.1
34,000 medical staff in quake zone
Nearly 280,000 tents, 480,000 quilts and 1.7 million jackets sent
6bn Chinese yuan ($860m, 440m) received in donations, from China and abroad
Drinking water for 7m people restored
Source: Chinese government

Another 32,361 people remain missing in the quake zone, the state council said. An estimated five million people have been made homeless.

China's foreign ministry has appealed to the international community to provide tents.

To help raise money for the long-term relief effort, the government is to sell special stamps starting next month.

Thirteen million of the stamps, featuring three interlocking hearts on a red background, will be sold, potentially raising as much as $4m (2m).

But Japan's foreign minister criticised China for not accepting foreign aid workers sooner.

"It would have been better if the decision was quicker," Masahiko Komura said, quoted by AFP news agency.

Russian and Taiwanese medical teams have arrived in the quake zone.

Japanese, German and Italian teams are also on their way, but some others have been refused entry.

"Given the situation, and difficulties in the area, including transportation and telecommunications, it is not possible for us to accept all of the rescue and medical teams to engage in relief work," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

Panic

Tens of thousands of people in Sichuan province rushed from their homes on Monday after a government warning of a possible major aftershock.

People slept on the streets or drove to open ground after the warning, which was broadcast on television, triggered panic.

Roads out of Sichuan's provincial capital, Chengdu, were jammed as people headed for the open ground of the province's agricultural plains.

Dozens of aftershocks have rattled the area, the strongest of which had a magnitude of 6.1.





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