70,000 homes collapse in Chinese aftershock

Less than an hour ago…

More than 70,000 houses toppled during an aftershock that rocked China’s earthquake-ravaged Sichuan province on Sunday, state television reported.

At least one person was killed and 400 were hurt when the 5.8 magnitude tremor hit southwest China, according to the Xinhua state news agency. The aftershock also caused office towers to sway 800 miles away in Beijing.

The latest aftershock is one of the strongest to hit Sichuan since the May 12 earthquake that battered large parts of the province.

China’s Cabinet also raised the official death toll from the natural disaster to 62,664. The government has said the final death toll could surpass 80,000.

Meanwhile, officials warned that nearly 70 dams scarred by the force of China’s most powerful earthquake in three decades were in danger of bursting.

The government had earlier said some 391 dams had been affected by the quake, mostly small structures.

Hundreds of troops carrying explosives were trekking through the area, attempting to reach one “quake lake” that threatens a secondary disaster.

Concerned by a steep rise in the water level of a giant lake at Tangjiashan, authorities want to blast a hole in the barrier before it bursts and causes a flash flood. Thousands have been evacuated from below the lake as a precaution.

Sichuan is home to the world’s largest water project, the Three Gorges dam located about 350 miles east of the epicenter, which authorities have said was not damaged in the quake.


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