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BREAKING 10:15am 5-20-08 China Quake Death Toll Tops 40,000; More Aftershocks Expected
Tuesday, May 20, 2008 8:16am

CHINA  From CNN (By: Tom Pace, Talk of the Town) BREAKING CHINA QUAKE UPDATE  10:15am 5-20-08 The human toll continues to rise, one week and a day following China's devestating earthquake. Official figures now show the number dead has risen to 40,075 in the Sichuan province alone.

On Monday
China paused to honor victims of the disaster and braced themselves for further aftershocks. According to CNN, the Sichuan Seismological Bureau warned residents that a strong aftershock was likely to happen in the province, Xinhua reported.

The bureau said there was a bigger possibility of the aftershock between Monday and Tuesday as it warned local government and people to take precautions. Video Watch dramatic footage of the quake striking Sichuan province

State media showed people camping on the streets and in city squares after the government-issued aftershock warning.

China's observance of the earthquake came exactly a week after the 7.9-magnitude earthquake shook the county's southwest to its core -- 2:28 p.m. Monday. The temblor killed at least 34,073 and injured another 245,109.

The observance erupted into a loud outpouring of emotion among thousands of people in Chengdu, a major city close to the quake's epicenter and the capital of China's Sichuan province. They ended three minutes of silent observance with cries of grief and shouts of support for the recovery effort.

The observance began three days of mourning in China, including a temporary suspension of the Olympic torch relay.

Strong aftershocks and fears of flash flooding and landslides hindered rescue efforts. Chinese seismologists measured a 5.4 magnitude tremor at 2:06 p.m. Monday, Xinhua reported.

Mud flows buried more than 200 relief workers who were working to repair damaged roads in the Sichuan province, Xinhua reported Monday afternoon.

The earthquake severely disrupted power and communication facilities in the Sichuan province, but Chinese officials said Monday they have made major progress in restoring service.

The electricity production and distribution has been returned to a level about 80 percent of what it was before the quake, although the four hardest hit counties closest to the epicenter are still without power, an official said.

Telecommunication services have been restored to 76 of the 109 townships in the province, another official said.

Workers battled landslides and other barriers to carry fiber communications equipment on foot to restore communications, the official said.

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