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China earthquake death toll rises to 615

Beijing - The death toll from an earthquake in south-western China has risen to 615, and 3 100 people are believed to have been injured, the state-run broadcaster CCTV quoted officials as saying on Thursday.

Sunday's 6.5-magnitude quake was the most damaging one in Yunnan province for 14 years, forcing the evacuation of 230 000 people from collapsed homes and vulnerable areas, the provincial government said.

About 10 000 soldiers and a similar number of police and civilian volunteers have been involved in the rescue effort.

The work was hampered by heavy rain and aftershocks, bringing a constant risk of more landslides.

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