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Aftershocks in China flatten houses

More than 420,000 houses collapse in quake-hit Sichuan province in southwest China after two fresh aftershocks hit the area , reports the state media.

world Updated: May 27, 2008 22:12 IST

More than 420,000 houses collapsed in quake-hit Sichuan province in southwest China after two fresh aftershocks hit the area on Tuesday afternoon, state media reported.

Xinhua news agency, quoting local disaster relief headquarters, said the houses were in Qingchuan County but gave no other details including possible casualties.

Southwest China has been rocked by dozens of powerful aftershocks after an earthquake on May 12 measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale hit densely populated Sichuan province, killing at least 67,000. The official death toll on Tuesday was 67,183, with the figure certain to rise with more than 20,000 still missing.

As of noon on Monday, 182 aftershocks measuring above four on the Richter scale had been recorded in Sichuan, Xinhua said earlier, citing the China Seismological Bureau.

Tuesday’s aftershocks measured 5.4 and 5.7 on the Richter scale, state media said earlier, and came within half an hour of one another.

In a related development China has allowed the couples who have lost their only child in the worst earthquake to have another one in relaxation of the one-child norm that offers a glimmer of hope for many parents.

Parents whose only child was killed, severely injured or disabled in the quake could apply with the government’s family planning agency under clarifications issued on the policy, according to Chengdu Evening News.