At least 87,000 feared dead in China’s May 12 quakeSeptember 4th, 2008 - 2:32 pm ICT by IANS
Beijing, Sep 4 (Xinhua) At least 87,000 people are feared to have perished in the deadly May 12 earthquake in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, an expert said Thursday in a revised estimate.”The toll in the quake had topped 69,000 by mid July, with another 18,000 missing,” Shi Peijun with the National Wenchuan Earthquake Expert Committee told a press conference here.
“Given that it has been three months since the deadly earthquake struck, the hope of survival for the missing is very slim,” Shi said.
Combining the two figures, it is reasonable to believe that the toll is no less than 87,000, he said.
More than 42 million people have been affected by the 8.0 magnitude quake, which wreaked havoc over an area of 40,000 sq km area prompting a massive relief operation by the government that is still going on.
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, addressing a press conference Tuesday in Yingxiu, one of worst hit townships in the quake, said the toll had topped 80,000.
The direct economic loss for the killer quake has been estimated at 845.1 billion yuan (about $121 billion).
Sichuan suffered the most, accounting for 91.3 percent of the total direct economic loss, Shi said. Its neighbouring provinces Gansu and Shaanxi accounted for 5.8 and 2.9 percent of the loss, respectively.