Saturday, June 7, 2008

'Quake' Lake in China Drains; Orphans Remain

The quake centered in Sichuan province killed 69,127 people, with 17,918 still missing, according to the latest government figures.

The provincial government has estimated about 7,000 of the victims were children with no siblings. The National Population and Family Planning Commission will send a medical team to the quake zone to perform reverse sterilization operations on couples that want to have another child, Xinhua reported.

China's family planning policies restrict most couples to one child, although rules allow for another baby if their child is killed, severely injured or disabled.

Authorities said they had recorded 4,700 unclaimed children whose parents presumably died in the quake. But Civil Affairs Ministry official Zhang Shifeng said the final number of orphans was expected to be about 1,000 to 2,000, as children were gradually handed over to members of their extended families.

Zhang said parents from around China were showing huge interest in adopting quake orphans, with 10,000 families registering for adoption in one province alone. He indicated the ministry could give priority to parents who (lost) children in the quake.

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