China Raises Quake Death Toll to 70,000

CHENGDU, China -- China raised the number of dead or missing from a devastating earthquake to more than 70,000 on Tuesday, as rescuers found another survivor eight days after the huge tremor hit.

Vice Governor Li Chengyu of the southwestern province of Sichuan said the known death toll there alone had now topped 39,500. At least another 500 have been reported killed in neighboring provinces.

State news agency Xinhua reported that a further 32,000 were still missing.

Authorities had previously said they expected the final death toll to exceed 50,000. The number of injured stands at about 245,000.

Ma Yuanjiang was rescued in Wenchuan county, the epicenter of the May 12 quake in mountainous Sichuan, after 179 hours buried in the rubble, state media said.

His rescue came as authorities tried to restore calm in the provincial capital, Chengdu, after tens of thousands rushed into the streets overnight, alarmed by a television prediction of another powerful earthquake.

But as darkness fell over Chengdu on Tuesday, thousands of residents prepared makeshift shelters to sleep outside, too afraid to stay overnight in their homes.

That, along with fresh aftershocks and forecast heavy rain, compounded the difficulties for military, government and private workers trying to ensure that millions of homeless are fed and housed.

Anger was building among bereaved parents in Sichuan over the way many school buildings had collapsed, burying whole classrooms full of children. In one town, in a rare public protest, hundreds demanded punishment for anyone guilty of shoddy construction.

Chengdu residents rushed from their homes before midnight on Monday, alarmed by the prediction of another earthquake after the 7.9-magnitude tremor on May 12.