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By April 22, the official earthquake death toll in northwest China’s remote Yushu, in Qinghai Province, is listed as only 2,187, but local people claim that number is dramatically underreported.
Qinghai Jiegu Temple abbot Angwen Danbarenqing told The Epoch Times that most of his monks were spared from the disaster, and they devoted themselves to rescue work almost immediately after the quake.
“By the third day, the dead were collected for cremation together. More than 2,300 bodies were burned, and more corpses will arrive here soon. I have looked around in different places and think the death toll will reach 8,000 to 9,000,” he said.
However, a Qinghai Yushu Relief Headquarters report lists the death toll at 2,187 with 80 missing and 12,135 injured, including 1,434 severely injured. This report was issued at 5 p.m. on April 22.
Besides Tibetan victims, many migrant workers from the Han and Hui races were killed in the quake. A local rescuer said that the local regime did not count them among the death toll because these people normally live in poor conditions.
Another local rescuer named Zeng said that many migrant workers from neighboring Sichuan Province also died, and their bodies have been transported to their homes.
“The situation is so bad,” Zeng said. “We don’t understand why the media have not come here to report. Many people have no food and no place to stay, particularly the Tibetans. I saw many monks carrying out rescue work by digging in the snow.”
According to rescuers, no official earthquake relief teams appeared in many of the severely affected counties, although Beijing’s media repeatedly announced that rescue materials were continually shipped to the disaster regions.
Moreover, official rescue efforts were only organized in town centers where government facilities, schools, and shop buildings are located. The countryside has been left to fend for itself for several days. Abbot Angwen Danbarenqing added, “We have a lot of people here who were severely affected by the quake. There is a shortage of supplies to help them.”
According to official data, the population of Yushu is 100,000, including 40,000 in Jiegu County and 60,000 in surrounding rural areas.