China says over 70,000 dead or missing from quake

China raised the number of dead or missing from a devastating earthquake to more than 70,000 today, as rescuers found another survivor eight days after the huge tremor hit.





Vice governor Li Chengyu of the south-western province of Sichuan said the known death toll there alone had now topped 39,500. At least another 500 have been reported killed in neighbouring provinces.



State news agency Xinhua reported that a further 32,000 were still missing.



Authorities had previously said they expected the final death toll to exceed 50,000. The number of injured stands at about 245,000.



Ma Yuanjiang was rescued in Wenchuan county, epicentre of the 12 May quake in mountainous Sichuan, after 179 hours buried in the rubble, state media said.



His rescue came as authorities tried to restore calm in the provincial capital, Chengdu, after tens of thousands rushed into the streets overnight alarmed by a television prediction of another powerful earthquake.



But as darkness fell over Chengdu on Tuesday thousands of residents prepared makeshift shelters to sleep outside, too afraid to stay overnight in their homes.



That, along with fresh aftershocks and forecast heavy rain, compounded the difficulties for military, government and private workers trying to ensure millions of homeless are fed and housed.



Anger was building among bereaved parents in Sichuan over the way many school buildings had collapsed, burying whole classrooms full of children. In one town, in a rare public protest, hundreds demanded punishment for anyone guilty of shoddy construction.



Chengdu residents rushed from their homes before midnight on Monday, alarmed by the prediction of another earthquake after the 7.9 magnitude tremor on 12 May.



Hundreds of aftershocks have been felt over the past week, bringing down more buildings and causing landslides. A few hours after the television report, a 5-magnitude tremor was felt.



But today, provincial television screened interviews with a series of seismological bureau officials to explain the prediction and calm a jangled populace.



"Just because you can feel aftershocks, it doesn't mean they will hurt you. Of course, that doesn't mean you should stand in harm's way," said Han Weiding, researcher with the local seismological bureau.



The quake warning also prompted panic in neighbouring Chongqing municipality and Guizhou province.







The pandemonium showed how the main quake and its aftershocks have stretched nerves to breaking point.



"I think the television coverage is overdoing it. They're scaring people," said a hotel worker surnamed Li, who spent the night in a public park.



The most lamented victims of the quake have been the thousands of children who died when school buildings collapsed.



In Juyuan town, hundreds of grieving parents demanded an annual memorial day for their children, punishment of officials or builders responsible for shoddy schools, and compensation.



"How come all the houses didn't fall down, but the school did? And how come that happened in so many places?" demanded Zhao, whose two daughters were crushed to death.



"We want a memorial day for the children, but we also want criminal prosecution of those responsible, no matter who they are."



As China's ruling Communist Party seeks to maintain a staunch front of unity and stability after the quake, the incipient protests by parents could be troublesome, for many of them blame official graft and laxity, more than nature, for the deaths.





Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003