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More Than 200,000 Volunteers Work in Quake-hit Sichuan

More than 200,000 volunteers are working in quake-hit areas in southwest China's Sichuan Province, vice governor Li Chengyun told a press conference in Beijing Friday.

Most of them, including psychologists and psychological students from universities, are in Sichuan to provide psychological counseling service or to comfort the disaster-stricken people, Li said.

"The quake brought huge mental trauma to local residents, especially orphans," he said.

Last week's 8.0-magnitude quake centered in Wenchuan County has left 55,239 dead in Sichuan alone as of 7:00 PM Thursday, 281,066 injured and 24,949 are still missing, and rescuers have pulled a total of 83,988 people alive from rubble, Li said.

In terms of the intensity and scope of destruction, the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake is believed to have surpassed the 1976 7.8-magnitude quake in Tangshan, northern Hebei Province, which claimed more than 240,000 lives.

(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2008)

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