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China starts Lushan quake damage assessment

BEIJING, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Damage assessment has begun in the quake-hit regionof southwest China's Sichuan Province to provide a scientific basis for post-quakerelief and reconstruction work.

A joint work group of experts from the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA), the ChinaNational Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Education was sent toquake-hit Ya'an City on Thursday, according to a statement released Friday by theMCA.

The group is tasked with determining the scale of the damage by conducting on-siteinspections and holding symposiums. It will primarily focus on the damage to housesand infrastructure, as well as losses in the industrial and public service sectors,according to the statement.

The group has been urged to verify figures provided by local authorities and thosecollected by remote sensing satellites and numerical models, so as to ensure theaccuracy of the assessment, it said.

As of Wednesday, the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Lushan County, Ya'anCity, on Saturday morning has left 196 dead, 21 missing and 13,484 injured.

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