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China Restores Road Transport to 97% Towns in Quake-hit Sichuan

China's Ministry of Transport (MOT) announced on Tuesday that 424 towns, almost 97 percent of 439 towns hardest-hit by May 12 quake in Sichuan Province, had restored road links as of 8:00 AM on Monday.

Of the 15 towns where highways were still closed, 13 were affected by "quake lakes" formed by the landslides that blocked rivers, said He Jianzhong, spokesman for the ministry.

The MOT said 266,000 vehicles carrying 3.19 million tonnes of relief materials arrived by road in quake-stricken localities, including Shaanxi, Chongqing, Gansu and Sichuan, from May 12 to June 1.

A total of 114.35 million yuan (US$16.5 million) in toll fees had been exempted for these vehicles.

The quake which has claimed 69,107 lives as of Tuesday noon and caused 61.52 billion yuan losses to the country's transportation sector as of Sunday noon, according to incomplete calculations.

(Xinhua News Agency June 4, 2008)

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