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At Least 208 Dead Or Missing After China Quake

posted 22 Apr 2013, 01:02 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 22 Apr 2013, 01:02 ]

The number of people killed or missing after China's worst earthquake in three years rises to more than 200, with another 11,800 injured and many left homeless.

LUSHAN COUNTY, YA'AN CITY, SICHUAN PROVINCE, CHINA (APRIL 22, 2013)(REUTERS) -  People woke up in tents on Monday (April 22), 48 hours after their homes were damaged in China's biggest earthquake in three years.

The magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit a remote mountainous area of south-western China's Sichuan province at 8:02 a.m. (0002 GMT) on Saturday (April 20), close to where almost 70,000 people were killed in a massive earthquake in 2008.

By Sunday (April 21) night at least 208 people had been killed or were missing after the powerful quake in Lushan county, near the city of Ya'an. At least 11,826 more were injured, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on its website.

With their houses and apartments destroyed, many face life without a stable home for months or even years.

Outside Lushan's sports stadium, people crammed into Red Cross tents were waking up on Monday morning to face the grim reality.

Thirty-seven-year-old mother Wu Jinping was staying with 11 others, some of them injured, from three families in a tent.

She injured her arm when part of her rural home collapsed when the quake hit.

Despite the circumstances, she considered them lucky to at least have a roof over their heads.

"In this situation we sleep badly because there are a lot of people and the air's not that good. But we are doing well in comparison to many family and friends who don't have tents to stay in," she said.

But she was concerned it would be a long wait before they could have a solid roof over their heads again.

"Considering that our houses have collapsed, at the moment we have no idea when we might be able to move back in. Many of them are too unsafe for people to live in. So we have no idea exactly when we will be able to leave these tents," she said.

Nearby, stalls handed out bottled mineral water and medicine to people, some with young children strapped to their back.

Most of the deaths in the quake were concentrated in Lushan, a short drive up the valley from Ya'an, but rescuers' progress was hampered by the narrowness of the road and landslides, as well as government controls restricting access to avoid traffic jams.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited injured people in a local hospital on Sunday in the south-western Sichuan province, as the toll of the dead and missing from the country's worst earthquake in three years continued to rise.