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SW China quake toll remains at 38, one missing
Updated: 2008-09-03 22:57

BEIJING - The death toll in Saturday's 6.1-magnitude quake in southwest China stood at 38 as of 8 a.m. on Wednesday, with the latest news of one missing.

The missing person was reported in Huili County, Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Liangshan, Sichuan Province, according to the China Earthquake Administration.

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Among the dead were 27 in Huili County, five in Panzhihua City and six in Yunnan's Chuxiong.

In total, 982 people were injured, with 637 in Sichuan and 345 in Yunnan, the administration said.

The quake and aftershocks had ravaged 72 villages and towns in six Sichuan counties and 20 villages and towns in three Yunnan Province counties. Kunming, capital of Yunnan, was also hit.

The quake zone, covering an area of about 9,600 square km, is home to about 1.2 million people, the administration's quake relief director Huang Jianfa said at Wednesday's press conference.

Responding to outside conjecture, the administration's quake forecasting director, Liu Jie, pointed out at the same conference "the quake was not an aftershock of the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province."

The two quakes were two fractures in the same rift zone, and the epicenters were 550 km apart.

He also warned aftershocks of a 5.0 to 6.0 magnitude might occur in future.

About 392,000 houses collapsed or were damaged in the quake, figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) showed. The direct economic loss was estimated at 3.36 billion yuan (about US$491 million).

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