Trading Sorrow, Soul & Life

The confirmed national death toll reached 12,300 by 2 am Wednesday, with 9,404 buried in debris and 7,841 missing.rnrnThe county, about 160 kilometers northwest of the epicenter Wenchuan, was reduced to rubbles in the quake.rnBeichuan - Crowds of soldiers and civilians are still searching for survivors on Wednesday in Beichuan, a mountainous county in the north of Sichuan Province that is comparable to Pompeii after the worst earthquake in recent decades on Monday killed up to 5,000 people and toppled 80 percent of its buildings.rnAt least 1,000 students were buried when a six-story school building collapsed in Monday's quake.rnrnOccasional cries for help from the ruins could be heard, but as the time went by, the cries lowered to whispers and many buried children were feared dying.rnrnAbout 2,000 students, parents and villagers have never left the campus since the collapse. Some anxiously waited for news and witnesses recounted what they saw and heard.

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