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China earthquake death toll rises to 24

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Beijing
– The death toll from an earthquake that scarred a scenic region of southwest China’s Sichuan province rose to 24 on Friday, state media said, as authorities found more bodies.

A total of 493 were injured in Tuesday’s 6.5-magnitude quake, including 45 in serious condition, Xinhua news agency said, citing rescue authorities.

The Aba prefecture emergency response office earlier said in a statement that more bodies were found inside a bus in a river valley in Zhangzha. It did not give more details about what had happened to the vehicle.

State media said that around 85,000 people have been evacuated from towns and villages hit by the quake, which struck Jiuzhaigou, a popular tourist destination with a national park, forested mountains and over 140 lakes that has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The tremor evoked memories of a devastating 8.0-magnitude earthquake in the region in 2008 that left 87,000 people dead or missing. – AFP