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China earthquake toll update

  • Story Highlights
  • Eight provinces affected in China by Monday's earthquake
  • Authorities warn that death toll may change by the hour
  • Monday's earthquake was largest in China in more than 30 years
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(CNN) -- The official death toll from the China earthquake stood at 12,012 on Wednesday afternoon, but it is expected to rise as soldiers and rescue crews pull more bodies from crumbled buildings at the epicenter in Sichuan province.

Casualty figures from various cities, in fact, already indicate a higher death toll. The state-run Xinhua news agency has provided death toll for eight communities that add up to 19,565, including roughly 7,700 who perished in the town of Yingxiu, near the earthquake's epicenter.

Authorities have said the death toll from Monday's quake might change every hour, as they heard reports from crews frantically working to remove bodies and survivors from the debris, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

Xinhua reported 26,206 people injured. Thousands were missing, many of them buried, and the tally kept changing.

Monday's major earthquake -- registering a magnitude of 7.9 -- struck at 2:28 p.m. (2:28 a.m. ET) with its epicenter about 50 miles (75 km) northwest of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

According to the latest reports from Xinhua, the following are the breakdowns of the fatalities and injuries by city or region.

  • Yingxiu Township: At least 7,700 killed and more than 1,000 badly injured.
  • Mianyang City: 7,395 people killed and 18,645 reported trapped in debris. Among those trapped were about 1,000 students in the rubble of Beichuan Middle School.
  • Mianzhu: 2,000 dead, 10,000 injured and at least 4,800 people trapped in rubble, including 200 children buried in two different schools. Mianzhu is close to the epicenter of the quake.
  • Shifang: 600 people dead, 2,300 trapped when two chemical plants collapsed, leaking 80 tons of ammonia. Mianzhu and Shifang are both part of Deyang City.
  • Chengdu: 959 people dead.
  • Guangyuan City: 700 people dead.
  • Dujiangyan City: Rescuers pulled 50 bodies from Juyuan Middle School, which held an estimated 900 students when it collapsed. As many as 320 students are feared dead. Rescuers in the same city were also working at Xiang'e Middle School, where officials said fewer than 100 of the school's 420 students survived.
  • Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture: 161 dead.
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    Other casualties were reported in Ya'an, Ziyang and the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, but numbers were not immediately available.

    In all, eight provinces were affected by the quake, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs: Sichuan, Chongqing, Gansu, Guizhou, Hubei, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Yunnan.

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