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  Saturday, February 29, 2020
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The death toll from the May 12 earthquake in China's Sichuan
The death toll from the May 12 earthquake in China's Sichuan province has risen to more than 60,000 and may hit 80,000 as most of the missing are presumed dead, the country's premier said on Saturday.

Premier Wen Jiabao announced the new death toll, 5,000 higher than the figure quoted on Friday, after his meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the quake-hit town of Yingxiu.

The disaster has left over five million people homeless.

The United Nations chief, who arrived in Yingxiu this morning to see the ongoing relief operation, pledged the UN's support in relief and reconstruction work. The UN has so far allocated $8 million for emergency aid to the region.

The Chinese government has pledged 70 billion yuan ($10 billion) in reconstruction aid.

Ban's visit to China follows a trip to Myanmar, devastated by a cyclone that made landfall on May 2, and is believed to have claimed up to 130,000 lives. The country's military junta, internationally criticized for hampering relief efforts, has promised the UN that it will allow more aid workers into the country.


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