Fri, November 21, 2008
China > Mainland

Nearly 20,000 students died in Sichuan earthquake

2008-11-21 08:15:27 GMT2008-11-21 16:15:27 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

Schoolgirls play at a temporary school in quake-affected Yinghua township, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan on November 11, 2008. (AFP/Liu Jin)

China announced for the first time that nearly 20,000 students in Sichuan died in the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in this May, according to a provincial leader.

"What I can tell you is that we have announced a death toll of 19,065 (students)," Weihong, the executive vice-governor of Sichuan Province told briefing Friday in Beijing.

He added that this is only a temporary figure as further statistics is being conducted.

The earthquake left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.

Wei told reporters that millions of those displaced in the earthquake still need quilts and repairs to their homes if they are to survive the coming winter, expected to be unusually cold.

Experts predict that temperatures would be slightly lower this winter in the area compared to previous years.

"During the post-disaster period of relocations, we have placed at the core the work of making sure that thousands of affected people, especially those living in extremely cold and remote rural areas, will live safely and warmly through this wintertime," Wei said.

He said that although millions of cotton quilts and clothing had been donated already, more was still needed.

As of Nov. 12, nearly 200,000 homes had been rebuilt, 685,000 homes were under reconstruction, but that nearly two million households still needed to be rebuilt or repaired, according to Wei.

More than 1,300 schools have been reconstructed or are currently being worked on, and site selection had started for relocating 25 townships, including Beichuan and Wenchuan, two of the most devastated areas.

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