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China Sends More Helicopters to Join Quake Relief Effort


Chinese workers are still trying to reach three mountainous towns in southwestern Sichuan province that were cut off by a huge earthquake that struck the region Monday. Chinese authorities worry that the official death toll of nearly 15,000 could skyrocket unless needed help arrives soon. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.

Soldiers in Sichuan are pressing more military and civilian helicopters into service, to airlift necessities and help with relief work.

State TV has shown daily reports of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the scene, talking to survivors, encouraging emergency workers and overseeing relief work.

According to official media, landslides are still blocking efforts to reach 20,000 residents in three towns near the epicenter of the quake, in Wenchuan County.

At the same time, a growing issue for the government is the need to care for people who have been made homeless.

The government has spent more than $150 million so far for disaster relief efforts. The Ministry of Civil Affairs says public donations have reached more than $125 million.

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