Toll in China quake rises to 1,339 (Lead)

April 17th, 2010 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, April 17 (IANS) The toll in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that hit northwest China’s Qinghai province reached 1,339 Saturday, with another 332 still missing, rescuers said.
The devastating quake, which struck the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu Wednesday, has also left 11,849 injured, of which 1,297 severely, Xia Xueping, a spokesman for the rescue headquarters, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Also Saturday, hundreds of victims were cremated on a hillside in Gyegu, the hardest quake-hit town, with relatives mourning in tears and monks chanting Buddhist prayers.

The Wednesday quake was followed by a series of aftershocks, which toppled 15,000 residential buildings and forced 100,000 residents to relocate, authorities said, adding that many people were still buried under the debris of collapsed houses.

More than 85 percent of houses, mostly made of mud and wood, collapsed in Gyegu, the town of 100,000 residents.

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