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Two people in China's quake-hit province of Sichuan have been rescued
Two people in China's quake-hit province of Sichuan have been rescued after spending some 20 days beneath the rubble of a collapsed building, China's Xinhua news agency said.

The people, reported to be in a stable condition, were flown by helicopter to a hospital in Hong Kong.

The death toll from China's devastating earthquake that hit the southwest province of Sichuan on May 12 has risen to 69,019, a spokesman for the country's State Council said on Monday.

Meanwhile, a search is underway for a military transport helicopter with 14 quake survivors and 5 crew members onboard which crashed in heavy fog in Sichuan's mountainous area late on Saturday.

The quake, 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, and affected eight provinces, with Sichuan suffering the bulk of the devastation.

The official statement said 373,500 people had been injured in the disaster, and 18,600 are listed as missing. Over 45.5 million have been affected by the earthquake with 1.5 million evacuated from the disaster zone.

Previous reports said 68,516 people had died. Chinese authorities expect the final death toll to exceed 80,000.

Around 200,000 people have been evacuated and more than a million told to prepare to leave at any moment after a 'quake lake' was reporting to be in danger of bursting its banks.

Chinese soldiers have been working non stop to dig a channel to funnel the water away from the Tangjiashan lake which is one of the largest of the numerous 'quake lakes' created after heavy rain and mudslides blocked rivers and waterways.


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