China Says Toll May Hit 80,000
UN chief visits hard-hit region, praises recovery
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2008 2:27 PM CDT
A middle school lies in ruins in Yingxiu, one of the hardest hit towns near the epicenter of the quake.   (AP Photo/ United Nations,Evan Schneider)
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(Newser) – Up to 80,000 people may have been killed in Sichuan earthquake, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said today, suggesting that hopes of rescuing any of the approximately 20,000 people listed as missing are just about extinguished. The revision came as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited some of the hardest hit regions. Moon praised China’s recovery efforts, Reuters reports, drawing an unspoken contrast with neighboring Burma’s sluggish cyclone response.

"The Chinese government, at the early stage of this natural disaster, has invested strenuous effort and demonstrated extraordinary leadership," Moon said.