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China earthquake death toll rises to 68,516 by mid-Thursday

    BEIJING, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in China's major earthquake increaADV_CONTENTsed by about 400 to 68,516 as of 12 p.m. Thursday, the Information Office of the State Council said.

    A total of 365,399 people were injured and 19,350 others were missing in the 8.0-magnitude quake that jolted southwestern Sichuan Province on May 12.

    About 15.15 million affected people in the quake zones have been evacuated, according to the office.

    Hospitals had treated 87,391 injured people as of Thursday noon, of whom 56,580 were discharged, 15,388 were still being treated and 7,659 were transferred to other parts of China for treatment.

    As of Wednesday, disaster relief workers had relocated 739,034 people to safe areas and no new survivor was found among the ruins.

    As of Thursday noon, Beichuan and another 16 villages and towns were still out of electricity. The power supplies in four villages and towns in Xiaojin County of Aba were cut off due to aftershocks, the office said.

    As of Wednesday, 2,500 temporary houses had been set up in the quake zones and 4,600 were under construction.

    Meanwhile, about 619,400 tents, 3.99 million quilts and 9.21 million items of clothes had been sent to the quake-affected areas as of midday Thursday.

    Another 520,000 tons of fuel and 1.07 million tons of coal were also dispatched to the quake zones.

    As of Thursday morning, 98.2 percent of banks in the quake-hit areas have resumed their services. A total of 238 outlets were still out of work.

    From Wednesday noon to Thursday noon, 219 aftershocks had been monitored in southwest China's Sichuan Province, according to the Information Office of the State Council.

    All 219 aftershocks were below 3.9 on the Richter scale and none above 4-magnitude was monitored, said the office.

    The government disaster relief fund for earthquake-stricken areas had hit 20.94 billion yuan (2.99 billion U.S. dollars) as of Thursday noon, up 1.38 billion yuan from the previous day.

    The fund included 16.69 billion yuan from the central budget and 4.25 billion yuan from the local budget, the office said.

    In addition, donations from home and abroad to China's quake-hit regions had reached 37.3 billion yuan (5.33 billion U.S. dollars), up 2.5 billion yuan from the previous day.

    So far, 10.4 billion yuan, in cash and relief materials, had been forwarded to the earthquake-affected areas, the office said.

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