China Orders 3 Days of Mourning, Will Halt Torch

Toll hits 32,500 dead, more missing as search continues
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2008 1:02 PM CDT
Earthquake survivors are seen in tents among the rubble of collapsed houses in Shuimo, in Wenchuan county in southwestern China's Sichuan province, Sunday, May 18, 2008.    (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
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(Newser) – As the death toll in Monday's 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit 32,500, China declared 3 days of national mourning beginning tomorrow, reports Reuters. The Olympic torch relay will pause for the duration. Rescue efforts are still under way in devastated Sichuan province, but hopes are waning of recovering any of the estimated 9,500 still missing.

A handful of people have been found alive amid the rubble in past days, but "Generally by this stage the likelihood of survival is low," says a Japanese rescuer. "They say they have been finding some in Beichuan and we'll certainly keep trying." President Hu Jintao promised "every effort to save people once there is the slightest hope."