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
PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee