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China to investigate cultural relic damages in quake zones
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08:23, May 19, 2008

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· 7.8 Richter scale earthquake hits SW China
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Experts from China's cultural heritage protection authorities are preparing to conduct a survey of earthquake damage to cultural relics in southwest China, an official said Sunday.

Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, said the authority had received general information, but needed to assess the actual damage in quake-affected regions in and around Sichuan Province.

Experts would conduct the survey over three weeks, said Shan.

He would fly to Sichuan on Monday and visit Chongqing Municipality, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, which were also badly affected by the tremor.

In Sichuan alone, 45 cultural relics under state protection and59 under provincial protection were seriously damaged in the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that jolted the epicenter of Wenchuan county on May 12 and affected many other regions.

In Nanchong city, northeast Sichuan, a temple built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) on Lifeng Peak suffered roof and wall collapses and huge cracks could be seen in the beams.

The death toll from the powerful earthquake, China's worst in more than 30 years, rose to 32,477 nationwide as of 2 p.m. Sunday, with 220,109 injured, according to the emergency response office of the State Council.

In Sichuan alone, 31,978 people were killed, 209,905 were injured, and more than 9,500 remain buried.

Source: Xinhua

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