Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

China names 19,000 May quake dead

A father calls for investigation into the collapse of his children's school, May 2008
The number of collapsed schools has been a particular focus of anger

The Chinese government says it has identified 19,065 people who died in an earthquake in Sichuan province in May.

But officials denied earlier reports that the figure referred specifically to those killed in schools.

Sichuan's vice-governor Wei Honid said millions of quake survivors would need basic equipment to help them face what is forecast to be a harsh winter.

He also acknowledged the continued deep psychological suffering of some of the survivors.

The magnitude 8.0 earthquake which struck on 12 May left more 69,000 people dead, with another 18,000 still missing.

Much of the quake-hit landscape remains in ruins and some towns have been abandoned for good. Millions of survivors are living in flimsy temporary housing.

Parents' anger

Officials said a list of the names and basic personal details of 19,065 of the dead had been published.

Earlier reports suggested Mr Wei had said all those on the list had died inside schools, but he later corrected this.

A tent city next to a house rebuilding site in Beichuan country, Sichuan province
Reconstruction is under way, but millions remain in temporary housing
"Because the total number of the people killed in the quake is still being checked, there is still no final figure about the students toll," he said, according to Xinhua.

The figure for the number of students who died is sensitive because so many earthquake victims were buried inside collapsed schools - suggesting school construction standards may have been lax.

Distraught bereaved parents have staged angry demonstrations and Beijing has been accused of trying to buy their silence by offering them compensation.

But Mr Wei reportedly told a news conference he had not heard of such situations.

"The great majority of the family members of the children and students who died in the earthquake are gradually walking out of the shadow of losing their family member," Mr Wei said, according to AP news agency.

"They are now facing up to reality and a new life."

But he acknowledged that some remained "deeply damaged in their hearts".

Mr Wei said the government was "very sorry" for the deaths of school students, and would try its "utmost to properly resolve the questions raised by the family members".

Winter warmth

Mr Wei also warned that a particularly cold winter was approaching and quake survivors, particularly the elderly and children, were in need of basic equipment to help keep warm.

While officials say some 200,000 homes have been rebuilt in the quake zone, and hundreds of thousands more are being repaired, nearly two million additional households remain in ruins.

A Sichuan official has said quilts, electric blankets and heating appliances are needed to help quake victims living in tents, pre-fab housing and makeshift shelters.

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