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Hitch your wagon to a star

A man moves wood in an area where houses were flattened in Jiegu.

A man moves wood in an area where houses were flattened in Jiegu. (Alexander F. Yuan/Associated Press

Chinese President Hu Jintao flew to a remote Tibetan region of western China on Sunday to meet with earthquake

Hu cut short an official trip to South America to deal with the aftermath of Wednesday's 6.9-magnitude quake.

Amid heavy security, he visited a village on the outskirts of Jiegu then headed to a field hospital beside the area's sports stadium.

President Hu Jintao, centre right, is greeted by people upon his arrival in a temporary hospital in Jiegu on Sunday.

President Hu Jintao, centre right, is greeted by people upon his arrival in a temporary hospital in Jiegu on Sunday. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)

Hu cradled an injured girl as she wept and promised speedy aid for people who lost homes.

However, getting aid to the mountainous region in Qinghai province remains a problem, Zou Ming, head of disaster relief at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, told a news conference in Beijing.

The ruined town of Jiegu is 1,000 kilometres from the provincial capital.

Still, Zou said 25,000 tents, twice that number of quilts, and 850 tonnes of instant food and drinking water have already been delivered to the quake zone.

He said while most of the survivors are now living in tents, they have basic food and clean water.

The death toll rose Sunday by a few hundred to 1,706 with 256 still missing, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the rescue headquarters in Jiegu.

A 68-year-old man was reportedly pulled from the rubble Sunday, four days after the quake hit. Xinhua reported that he appeared to be in stable condition.

Hundreds of the dead have been cremated. In a hillside ceremony Saturday, Buddhist monks in face masks set ablaze piles of blanket-wrapped bodies in a mass cremation, as necessity forced them to break with the local tradition of "sky burials" — leaving corpses on a platform to be devoured by vultures.

Rescue workers were still searching for survivors and bodies in schools. The quake destroyed more than a third of the school buildings in Jiegu and rendered the rest dangerous, according to the Qinghai provincial government.

The government said 103 students were killed and 684 students and teachers were injured. At least 38 others were still missing.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Saturday asked Beijing if he could also visit the quake zone to comfort victims in Tushu county, where most residents are ethnic Tibetans


Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/04/18/china-quake.html#ixzz0lOgP...

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