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Education Chiefs Deny 200 Children Buried at School

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China's Education Ministry Thursday rejected media reports that about 200 children were buried in the ruins of a primary school that collapsed in Wednesday's earthquake in western China.

Ministry spokeswoman Xu Mei said the exact number of children buried at the Third Primary School in Yushu county, Qinghai Province, was unknown, but the number was believed to be low.

Xu said education officials were attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of all the children who attended the school.

Education officials would do everything possible to ensure casualties were kept to a minimum, said Xu.

Chinese media reported earlier Thursday that teachers at the school believed that about 200 children could be buried in the rubble.

A statement issued by the ministry Thursday said education authorities were ordered to work to resume classes and reconstruct damaged school buildings as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the China Disabled Person's Federation planned to dispatch a rescue team of 20 medical workers, including experts in brain and spinal injuries, amputation, neurology and neurosurgery, to the quake zone.

The federation and the China Foundation for Disabled Persons had agreed to jointly donate 1 million yuan (US$146,483) to help disabled people and their relatives in quake-affected areas.

(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2010)

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