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China sends building safety experts to quake zone
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15:49, May 21, 2008

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· 8.0 Richter scale earthquake hits SW China
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The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said on Tuesday that it had sent 201 building safety experts to the quake-stricken regions in the southwest.

These experts, dispatched in three teams over the past six days, had evaluated the safety of buildings with a total area of 1.8 million square meters and trained more than 140 local staff, said the ministry.

They came from national universities, research institutes, architecture design and construction agencies and building quality inspection bureaus.

They are working in hard-hit areas including Dujiangyan, Deyang, Shifang, Mianzhu and Guangyuan.

According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, about 5.36 million buildings had been confirmed destroyed and more than 21 million were damaged in the earthquake as of Monday evening.

Many survivors had to sleep in the street because their houses were either destroyed or seriously damaged after the 8.0-magnitudequake that jolted southwestern Sichuan Province last Monday.

The death toll from the devastating earthquake was 40,075 nationwide as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday, and another 247,645 people were injured, according to the Information Office of the State Council.

Military rescuers had reached all 1,044 of the worst-hit villages in 134 townships in Sichuan Province as of Tuesday evening.


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