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A total of 174 aftershocks were recorded
A total of 174 aftershocks were recorded over the past 24 hours in China's southwest province of Sichuan devastated by a recent earthquake, the country's State Council said on Friday.

Between Thursday noon and Friday noon 174 aftershocks were recorded, but only two measured between 4.0 and 4.9 on the Richter scale, while 172 were below magnitude 3.9, the Xinhua news agency said.

The May 12 earthquake, measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale according to the China Seismological Bureau, was the worst to hit the country in more than three decades affecting eight provinces, with Sichuan suffering the bulk of the devastation.

The official death toll currently stands at around 69,000 with some 20,000 people missing. Chinese authorities expect the final death toll to exceed 80,000.

More than 9,000 aftershocks have been reported in Sichuan the most powerful of them, measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale, was recorded on May 25. Seismologists said that the aftershocks were expected to continue.

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