Local Chinese Govt Says Death Toll at 21,500

Rescue workers carry an earthquake victim evacuated by boat from Yingxiu to the Zipingpu Dam as roads are still inaccessible near Dujiangyan, southwestern China's Sichuan province, Thursday, May 15, 2008. China warned the death toll from this week's earthquake could soar to 50,000, while the government issued a rare public appeal Thursday for rescue equipment as it struggled to cope with the disaster. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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Beijing (AP) The Sichuan government says the official death toll from Monday's powerful earthquake in the Chinese province has risen to 21,500.

The vice governor announced the figure today at a news conference in the provincial capital of Chengdu. The number is up about 3,000 from yesterday.

China's earthquake and disaster relief headquarters has said the number of deaths could rise above 50,000.