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China begins national mourning for quake victims

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China begins national mourning for quake victims


China has begun three days of national mourning, with all flags at half mast, in memory of the more than 30,000 victims of the massive earthquake that struck exactly a week ago. Last night, state television broadcast a two-hour show designed to remember the victims, but also to raise donations to help survivors.

Many of those taking part and those in the audience were visibly moved as celebrities including athletes handed over cheques totalling close to a billion euros.
Every day, the world learns the name of another town destroyed by the quake such as Beichuan.

It has been dubbed a ghost town because its streets are practically deserted.

Thousands are still believed buried alive under the rubble there. But rescue efforts have been all but halted because of the risks posed by aftershocks and high water levels.

It is particularly frustrating given that just yesterday a survivor was pulled from the debris after a 24-hour operation, and reunited with his wife who had been rescued earlier.

The Chinese government is stepping up efforts to contain the risk of the outbreak of disease in the wake of the disaster.

Refugees were all sprayed with disinfectant on their arrival at the Zipingpu Dam.

In all, nearly five million people have lost their homes while the final death toll is still expected to exceed 50,000, with more than four times that number injured.

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