Update: Chinese Death Toll Rises to Almost 12,000

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Beijing (AP) A Chinese disaster relief official says the death toll has risen to nearly 12,000 following a massive earthquake that struck the country.

China's disaster response director Wang Zhengyao said at a news conference today that 11,921 people have died so far from the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that was centered in Sichuan province.

The death toll from the quake is expected to rise even higher, with state media saying thousands are still trapped in collapsed buildings.

The official Xinhua (shin-wah) news agency reports 10,000 people “remained buried” 60 miles from the epicenter. Xinhua says heavy rain is continuing to frustrate rescue efforts.