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Special> Aftermath of the Quake> Latest News
UPDATED: May 17, 2008  
First Repaired Road to Epicenter Reblocked by Aftershock

The repaired road from Lixian to Wenchuan, epicenter of Monday's massive quake in southwest China, was cut off again after an aftershock on Friday.

The road, which was repaired at 9 p.m. Thursday, was blocked after a 6.5-magnitude aftershock Friday afternoon, said He Jianzhong, spokesman for the Ministry of Transport.

The road was part of the national highway No. 317, which runs from Nagqu in Tibet Autonomous Region, to Sichuan's provincial capital Chengdu, with Maerkang, Lixian, Wenchuan, and Dujiangyan along the route.

All the roads into the epicenter had been blocked after Monday's quake, making the rescue work difficult. Rescuers had to try to reach the epicenter from four directions.

According to the ministry's latest report Friday, repair workers were still 16 km to go on the road from Shaba to Maoxian, leading to the epicenter from the north.

From the east, the road from Beichuan to Maoxian was still 28 km to go while the road linking Wenchuan and Maoxian had about 29 km still blocked.

He said road between Dujiangyan and Yingxiu town would be opened Friday night. However, there were no reports of development on this route.

The death toll from the 7.8-magnitude quake rose to 22,069 nationwide as of 2 p.m. Friday, of which 21,577 were killed in Sichuan.

(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2008)

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