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Death Toll from China Quake Nearly at 2,000
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19 Apr 2010 EST

- by Jorge Vargas, Editor-in-Chief

Last weeks' 6.9 magnitude earthquake in western China has killed at least 1,944, according to Chinese authorities.  The dramatically high death toll comes as Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Yushu County, one of the hardest-hit areas in the region.

The Chinese President visited the area after cutting short his visit to South America over the weekend, leaving from Brazil without completing his planned stops in Chile and Venezuela. 

Earlier today, two survivors were rescued from the rubble of a house in Yushu County.  Wujin Cuomao, 68, and a four-year-old-girl were kept alive by water and food that were passed to them through the gaps in the debris.  The relationship between the two is, as of yet, unclear.

Rescuers are hopeful that more such events will take place over the coming days.

The quake hit the region of former Tibet and, as such, it has prompted calls from the Dalai Lama that he be allowed to visit his homeland.  Chinese authorities, who view the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist, are unlikely to allow such a return. 

The earthquake has put the spotlight on China and the pressure is on for China to reconstruct efficiently and quickly if it wishes to maintain its image as a global superpower.

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