Rescue workers were digging through flattened homes and schools Tuesday in a desperate search for victims of China's worst earthquake in three decades. Authorities said nearly 12,000 people were killed and more than 18,000 are missing.
The official Xinhua News Agency said Chinese rescue workers reported that 18,645 people remain buried under debris in Mianyang city. Mianyang neighbors the epicenter of Monday's massive, 7.9-magnitude quake.
Xinhua said that 3,629 people have been confirmed dead in Mianyang. It was immediately clear whether those figures are included in the official death toll of 11,921 so far.
Earlier Tuesday, state media said rescue workers had reached the epicenter in Wenchuan county — where the number of casualties was still unknown
But rain was impeding efforts and a group of paratroopers called off a mission to the area due to heavy storms, Xinhua reported.
At least 4,800 people remained buried in Mianzhu, 60 miles from the epicenter, Xinhua said, citing local authorities.
The casualty figures were expected to rise and remained uncertain due to the remote areas affected by the quake and difficulty in finding buried victims.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Earthquake in China [Update]
Rescuers are moving as fast as possible to try to save as many people as they can, despite the overwhelming amount of debris: