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Special> Aftermath of the Quake> Latest News
UPDATED: May 18, 2008  
Japanese Rescuers Continue Working in Beichuan in China Quake-hit Area

The 60-member Japanese rescue team is, in two groups, busy trying to save lives in Qushan Town, seat of this worst-hit Beichuan county of China's quake-stricken area.

A 20-plus group, with three sniffer dogs and life detection apparatus, is searching for lives in the remaining two-floors of a seven-storey building of the county's planning and construction department.

Another group is carrying out rescue operation at a collapsed middle school at the town where more than 700 students are still trapped.

The team, the first group of foreign rescue professionals to arrive in the quake-stricken Sichuan Province, arrived at Beichuan, epicenter of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, at midnight Saturday by bus from Qingchuan where they found bodies of a mother Song Aimei and her 70-day-old daughter in the debris of a building.

In Qingchuan, the death toll was approaching 1,900.

"Now, the chance for the victims to survive is very slim, but we also had precedents to find survivors days after being trapped. So, we won't give up," said Takashi Koizumi, head of the Japanese team.

Local quake survivors volunteered to send the rescuers supper in the evening, together with instant noodles and boiled water.

"Please express our sincere gratitude to them. Thanks for coming to help us from so far away," a local young man, who only gave his surname Wei, told Xinhua reporters at the site.

Most residents like Wei in the county seat became homeless after the quake and they stayed in tents or temporary shelters built with tarpaulin.

As of 2 p.m. on Saturday, 28,881 people were confirmed dead nationwide in the massive earthquake and the death toll is estimated to exceed 50,000.

More than 200 foreign rescuers from Japan, Russia, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Singapore are in Sichuan to help with rescue and relief.

(Xinhua News Agency May 18, 2008)

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