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Quake's hard-hit town empties

Breaking Earth News
The ruins of collapsed buildings lay among those still standing in Beichuan. On Thursday, workers in white protective suits and black rubber boots sprayed disinfectant on buildings, trees, car wheels and the soles of shoes of people leaving the town, where thousands are still likely buried.

BEICHUAN, China - Wrecking machines on Thursday started toppling the few buildings left standing in this quake-struck town that was once home to 30,000, and the search for survivors is over.

The government announced a sharp increase in the number of confirmed deaths above its projected total of 50,000, and said tents were needed the most. Some 30,000 people were still unaccounted for, amid a seething mass of newly homeless numbering 5 million.

Ten days after China's worst disaster in a generation, it appears the search for survivors — and even the dead — was giving way to the first steps toward reconstruction.

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