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The earthquake that hit southwest China on May 12, has claimed
The earthquake that hit southwest China on May 12, has claimed over 51,000 lives with nearly 30,000 people still missing, the country's officials said on Thursday.

The quake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, affected eight provinces, with Sichuan suffering the bulk of the devastation. Cabinet spokesman, Guo Weimin, said that around 300,000 people had been injured with millions urgently needing shelter after their homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

"We need more than 3.3 million tents," Qin Gang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said, adding that more that 400,000 had already been received.

The earthquake was the worst to hit the country in more than three decades. Xinhua news agency quoted a Sichuan official as saying that the death toll could rise to 70,000 as many people remain buried in the debris and the relief operation is being hindered by continuing aftershocks, heavy rain and landslides.

Direct economic losses from the quake are estimated at about 67 billion yuan ($9.6 billion) in the Sichuan province alone, Xi Guohua, a Chinese vice minister of industry and information technology, earlier said.


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