2008-05-29 01:11:44 GMT 2008-05-29 09:11:44 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
CHENGDU, May 28 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese seismological official dismissed Wednesday rumors that another strong earthquake would strike southwest China on Wednesday.
"Such rumors are groundless," said Deng Changwen, deputy director of the Sichuan Provincial Seismological Bureau.
"The bureau has not found signs of another massive quake according to the monitoring results, nor has it issued such a forecast," Deng said.
Hearing the rumors, citizens in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, were panic-stricken. Some companies in Chengdu granted holidays to their employees and some schools allowed pupils to go home.
By Tuesday, more than half of businesses in six major cities in Sichuan had reopened, but sometimes they had to close because of aftershocks, said Yang Yue, deputy director of the Sichuan Provincial Industry and Commerce Administration, at a news conference on Wednesday.
He said the province was getting more supplies by the day. "There were brief price hikes immediately after the May 12 quake, but consumer prices are stable now," he added.
As the disaster relief work was shifting to restoring normal life and rebuilding homes, officials vowed stringent supervision, transparency and equality in distributing relief materials.
More than 1,700 volunteers have applied to the Sichuan provincial disaster headquarters as supervisors in the relief work, authorities said, adding that they would be selected
The 8.0 magnitude quake, which centered in Sichuan's Wenchuan County on May 12, has left 68,109 dead as of noon on Wednesday, the Information Office of the State Council said.
Another 364,552 people were injured and 19,851 others were still listed as missing.
More than 8,900 aftershocks followed the devastating quake, with the strongest measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale.
In terms of the intensity and scope of destruction, the May 12 quake is believed to have surpassed the 7.8 magnitude quake in 1976 in Tangshan, northern Hebei Province, which claimed more than240,000 lives.