China Pauses to Remember Quake Victims

Ad Feedback - The people of China halted their daily activities Monday to observe a moment of silence in honor the victims of last week's earthquake.

The Communist nation of 1.3 billion paused for three minutes at 2:28 p.m. - exactly one week after the magnitude 7.9 quake hit central China.

Watch more from OBI relief worker Peter Maize from China, following this report.

Motorists even stopped their cars on busy streets and highways. People on the street and in offices stood still for three minutes as air raid sirens and car horns sounded in memory of the nearly 50,000 dead.

In Beijing's Tiananmen Square, thousands of people showed their respect by bowing their heads. Then as a chorus they began shouting "Long Live China!"

It was the first time China has held a period of mourning for something other than the death of a leader.

Workers Trapped by Mudslides

Later on Monday, a government warning of a major aftershock sent thousands of panicked survivors running into the darkened streets Monday night.

In Sichuan, quake-weary residents carried pillows, blankets and chairs from homes into the open or slept in cars after a statement from the National Seismology Bureau was read on television.

More bad news also came from the hard hit quake area. State news reported that more than 200 workers who had been repairing quake-shattered roads in the province were buried over the past three days by mudslides.

"The total death toll is still being counted," a Sichuan official said. No more details were given.

More potential landslides were predicted, with heavy rains in forecast this week for some areas close to the epicenter.

Powerful aftershocks as well as the constant threat of flooding, landslides and mudslides continue to frighten people living in the quake zone.

Appeal for Aid

The Chinese government appealed for more international aid to cope with the country's deadliest disaster in a generation. Relief agencies like Operation Blessing, are still hard at work in China to help the survivors.

"Each day, CBN China's Operation Blessing workers are busy meeting the needs of earthquake survivors," said Peter Maize, director of Operation Blessing China.

Countless families have been devastated by this earthquake. One man told OBI workers about how he retrieved his son's crushed and lifeless body from under the rubble of their home.

"He was my life," the grieving father said. "I would rather it was me that died."

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Death Toll Rises

The confirmed death toll from the May 12 quake rose to 34,073, Chinese officials said Monday.

Another 9,500 remained buried in Sichuan and more than 29,000 were missing, the provincial government said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Officials have said they expect the final death toll to exceed 50,000, with more than 245,000 reported as injured.

Quake-related losses to companies totaled $9.5 billion, Deputy Industry Minister Xi Guohua said.

In Dujiangyan, three local government officials were removed from their posts for dereliction of duty over the earthquake - the first officials punished, Xinhua reported.

One of the officials was reprimanded for miscounting casualty figures, while the others were punished for failing to come to work.

The Communist Party's discipline committee had instructed all officials to "stand at the front line" of the disaster and vowed to deal harshly with those who did not, the agency said.

Source: The Associated Press, Operation Blessing

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