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Strong Aftershock Strikes Central China


Central China has been struck by a powerful aftershock as the region struggles to recover from a massive earthquake earlier this month that killed tens of thousands of people and left many more homeless. Latest shock killed at least one person in Sichuan province and injured about 260. Chinese state media say a team of Chinese paramilitary police has arrived on foot at a newly formed lake in central Sichuan province that was created by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake two weeks ago. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from Washington.

The U.S. Geological Survey says Sunday's aftershock registered 5.8 points on the Richter scale, making it one of the strongest aftershocks since the May 12 earthquake that devastated China's Sichuan province.

Initial reports say the aftershock caused more deaths and injuries, and led to further damage to homes, buildings, and roads. In addition, China's Vice Minister of Water Resources says scores of dams that were damaged in the initial quake are now in danger of collapse.

The minister says 69 dams are currently in danger of breaking, but have not broken yet.

The aftershock, centered near the devastated city of Mianyang, was felt across the country. As far away as Beijing, buildings are reported to have swayed.

The death toll from the initial quake has been rising precipitously, and Chinese officials say the final tally could exceed 80,000.

Adding to the misery are forecasts for more heavy rains in Sichuan province in coming days, heightening the strain on dams and increasing the risk of flooding and mudslides.

China has dispatched soldiers armed with explosives to a blocked river in hopes of clearing debris and alleviating the potential for flooding.


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