SICHUAN, China–On May 16, the Sichuan provincial government has confirmed that the death toll of the devastating earthquake has increased to 22,881. At a press conference, the governor of Sichuan province announced the latest death figures–nearly 4000 more than the day before.
As of 2 PM on May 17th, 22,881 have died from the Wenchuan earthquake. Amongst them, 21,557 were from Sichuan province and 364 were from Gansu province. 168,669 suffered injuries from the quake of which 159,006 were in Sichuan province and 7,040 from Gansu province.
According to information from the Chinese BBC website, China's national TV station reported that the State Council's disaster relief center estimates that the number of deaths could exceed 50,000 overall.
According to the Sichuan seismological bureau as of Friday May 16th, at 12 AM, as many as 4,432 aftershocks were recorded locally, the strongest being a magnitude of 6.5. Overall, as many as 10 aftershocks occurred with magnitudes above 5.
The strong and continuous aftershocks make it difficult to carry out relief work.
Yingxiu town in Wenchuan province, which is closest to the earthquake epicenter, experienced strong aftershocks Thursday morning. Several houses that did not collapse during the initial earthquake were levelled to the ground due to the aftershocks.
According to media reports coming from China, an official from Sichuan provincial seismology bureau claimed that the aftershocks with a magnitude of 5-6 could take place in the next few days.