Death toll, economic consequences mount from China earthquake

WSWS, May 14, 2oo8

By Alex Lantier

The official death toll from the massive May 12 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province continued to mount yesterday, even though reports from the most heavily devastated regions have not yet emerged. The quake, centered in a mountainous area near Sichuan’s borders with Tibet and Qinghai province, registered 7.9 on the Richter scale and was felt as far away as the Thai capital of Bangkok, 1,900 kilometers to the south.

According to the state-run Xinhua wire service, Sichuan province Vice-Governor Li Chengyun announced a death toll of over 12,000 people, with 26,206 wounded and over 9,400 people buried under debris. Li said the partial count included 161 in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, 7,395 in Mianyang City, 2,648 in Deyang City, 959 in Sichuan’s capital of Chengdu and 700 in Guangyuan City. Other casualties were reported in cities including Ya’an, Ziyang and in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

It is feared that these figures will increase substantially, as troops and rescue workers are only beginning to arrive near the epicenter of the quake, and current casualty figures do not count these areas. Soldiers who arrived in Yingxiu, near the epicenter, said they could document 3,000 survivors in the town’s population—variously reported at 9,000 to 12,000 inhabitants.

Continued . . .

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