Posted by: pinkturtle2 | Mei 19, 2008

Hopes Fading in Search for Quake Survivors in China

A woman walks among debris in Sichuan Province on Sunday. China photo

A coliseum in Mianyang, in Sichuan Province, houses survivors left homeless in the earthquake.

Aly Song/Reuters

Hopes Fading in Search for Quake Survivors in China

BEICHUAN, China — On television, the miraculous survivor stories have begun to fade, replaced with reruns of dramatic rescues. A man who endured entombment for 148 hours in the town of Yingxiu was rescued and celebrated Sunday. Elsewhere, three people beat the odds, being found alive amid the rubble, although one of them later died in a hospital.

But in towns and hamlets across Sichuan Province, where thousands remain missing, an air of hopelessness began to set in. The search for survivors was scaled back in many places, and rescue workers began focusing more on the task of cremating or burying the dead.

In Beijing, officials announced a three-day mourning period during which the ceremonial relay of the Olympic torch, which has been traveling through China, would be suspended.

Nearly a week after an enormous earthquake devastated much of north-central Sichuan, officials raised the death toll to 32,476 and said at least 10,000 others were still buried and presumed dead. At least 220,000 were injured, they said. Authorities also said they were taking measures to prevent the spread of disease through contaminated water.

In one bit of good news, the threat of flooding in several areas appeared to lessen on Sunday after three rivers clogged by landslides flowed over the blockages without complication, according to Xinhua, the official news agency. On Saturday, thousands of people, survivors and rescue workers alike, fled Beichuan and other towns. By Sunday, the workers had resumed their search for victims in Beichuan, although the streets were mostly empty.

Published: May 19, 2008

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