New Delhi, May 21: Nine days after an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the open-ended Richter Scale hit China's south-western Sichuan Province, the authorities are grappling with the next urgent task of finding shelter for up to five million residents. According to The China Daily, construction work on a resettlement site is on since May 17 and is expected to be ready by May 27.
Many are living in tent cities, receiving both food and medical care. The government issued an urgent appeal Tuesday for tents and brought in the first foreign teams of doctors and field hospitals, some of whom were swapping out with overseas search and rescue specialists.
The earthquake's confirmed death toll, according to the State Council Information Office, rose to more than 40,000 on Tuesday, with at least 10,000 more deaths expected, as officials said more than 32,000 people remained missing.
The information office said 80 percent of the bodies found in Sichuan had been either cremated or buried.
The entire quake zone remains jittery. The Sichuan Seismological Bureau, one day after triggering a panic in the provincial capital of Chengdu by issuing a public warning of major aftershocks, said in a statement on Tuesday the city was not a high risk area and was strong enough to withstand big tremors.
"The biggest problem is the density of the camps. If an infection breaks out, it can spread very quickly," an official involved with the rescue and relief operations said.