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372,000 People Lose Jobs After May 12 Earthquake

At least 372,000 urban residents in southwest China's Sichuan Province lost their jobs because of the May 12 powerful earthquake, Vice Governor of Sichuan Li Chengyun said on Monday.

The figure made the province's number of unemployed urban residents exceed 700,000, said the official. Sichuan has 27 million urban residents and 60 million rural ones.

The earthquake also deprived 1.15 million farmers of means of production, he added.

The Sichuan provincial government has helped more than 40,000 people find jobs by holding job fairs and providing free information, Li said.

A total of 16,289 enterprises suffered damages in the earthquake, resulting in direct economic losses of 99.78 billion yuan (US$14.5 billion).

The death toll of the earthquake increased by seven to 69,195 as of Sunday noon, with the injured total remaining at 374,177. The missing total fell to 18,404.

(Xinhua News Agency June 30, 2008)

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