05/12/2008, 00.00
CHINA
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Quake kills 7,600 in Sichuan alone

Local authorities announce death total for the area, but the area of the epicentre in Wenchuan remains isolated.

Chengdu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The death toll from the quake that struck Sichuan reached 7,600; whilst the number of wounded are expected to be as high as 10,000, this according to local authorities in Beichuan County, north-eastern Sichuan. Some reports say that at least 80 per cent of all buildings in Beichuan have collapsed.

No one has yet tried to estimate the number of casualties at the epicentre of the quake in the still isolated county of  Wenchuan.

The Xinhua news agency reported the collapse of three school buildings in Dujiangyan; many are feared dead.

At least 900 students might be buried beneath a high school.

Some reports said that four children died in the collapse of an elementary school in Liangping, in Wanzhou diocese, with hundreds more wounded.

The BBC reported one casualty in Mianyang (Santai County).

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who has arrived in the capital of Sichuan of Chengdu, said he will follow rescue operations and the distribution of aid.

The quake, which struck at struck at 2.28 pm local time (0628 GMT), measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, levelling buildings across this south-western part of the country.

Tremors were felt as far away as Beijing and Shanghai, but the epicentre was in Wenchuan, 92 kilometres north-east of Chengdu.

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