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China Training Medical Staff to Help Traumatized Quake Survivors

The Ministry of Health said on Thursday that a psychological training program for medical workers in the quake zone has started.

Scores of well-known Chinese specialists in psychiatry and psychology will be invited to participate. The program will have seven terms, each of which will train 80 to 100 people.

The courses will be held in six areas hit worst by the May 12 disaster: Dujiangyan, Deyang, Mianyang, Ya'an, Guangyuan and Aba, all in Sichuan Province.

"It may take years, scores of years, or even a lifetime to help some survivors psychologically," said Ma Hong, deputy head of the mental health center of Peking University.

She said some medical workers in the quake zone were unfamiliar with psychiatric concepts and lacked experience in providing trauma aid for massive groups of people.

The death toll from the disaster stood at 69,185 as of Thursday noon, the State Council Information Office said. The number of the injured was 374,174 and that of people still officially reported missing was 18,457. Many of the missing are likely dead, the government has acknowledged.

As of Thursday at noon, 96,277 injured people had been hospitalized, of whom 83,810 have been treated and discharged. There are still 9,831 people remaining in hospitals, the office said in a statement.

More than 1.47 million people had been rescued and evacuated as of Wednesday.

(Xinhua News Agency June 27, 2008)

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