Source AP ©

Lucky parents find their children after earthquake in China

Social workers have helped reunite more than 7,000 children separated from their parents by the huge earthquake in China's Sichuan province, but some 1,000 remain unclaimed, a government official said Friday.

About 8,000 children were reported to be separated from their families in the first few days after the May 12 earthquake, and that figure has now been drastically reduced to 1,000, said Ye Lu, director of social welfare at the provincial Civil Affairs Department.

"We are still getting thousands of calls per week asking about how to adopt, but we are still hoping to find the parents of these 1,000 kids," Ye said.

The confirmed death toll from China's worst quake in three decades is more than 68,500, with 19,350 others still missing, according to the government. But in the chaos after the magnitude 7.9 earthquake, which made 5 million homeless, many survivors were separated from their families.

Also on Friday, government officials in Tokyo said Japan would not use military planes to deliver relief goods to China after Beijing voiced uneasiness over the idea.

Beijing had been in talks with Tokyo about using Japanese military planes to deliver aid, which could have become the first significant military dispatch between the two nations since World War II.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Tokyo would not insist on using the military.

Japan invaded China and conquered large parts of it in the 1930s before being defeated by the Allies in 1945, and many Chinese still strongly resent Japan for its military aggression.

China's own military was still working in the northern part of Sichuan to drain the Tangjiashan lake, which formed above Beichuan town after a quake-triggered landslide blocked a river.

There are worries it could burst unless water is drained away. The soldiers were using 40 heavy earth-moving machines to dig drainage channels. Officials quoted in state media have not said how long the work would take.

Some 158,000 people living downstream from Tangjiashan lake have been evacuated, and officials have pledged to warn nearby residents in case of flooding so they have time to flee. Troops have sealed off Beichuan to the public.

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