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China Raises Earthquake Death Toll to 2,220

China Raises Earthquake Death Toll to 2,220

China has raised the death toll from the April 14th earthquakes in Yushu County to 2,220, as severe weather hampers efforts to deliver relief supplies and workers to the site of the devastation.

Official state media published the new death toll late Sunday. Officials say that as of Sunday, the focus has switched from searching for earthquake survivors to reconstruction and resettlement.

But China's Xinhua news agency says a sandstorm and snow delayed all six daily flights from Xining to Yushu during the weekend, leaving hundreds of rescuers stranded.

Xinhua says 73 people are missing and more than 12,000 injured after the quake.

Most of the people in Yushu are Tibetans.

On Saturday, the Chinese government said it will restore all 87 Buddhist monasteries damaged by the earthquake.

Thousands of Tibetan Buddhist monks have flocked to the quake zone to help rescue survivors and bury those who were killed.

However, on Friday, China's communist government urged them to return to their monasteries to avoid hindering relief operations.

China's communist government, suspicious of the monks' loyalty to Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has asked them to return home.

Chinese officials have ignored the Dalai Lama's appeal to be allowed to visit the disaster zone.