The death toll in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck China's northwestern Qinghai Province on Wednesday has risen to 617, with 313 people still missing and 9,110 injured.

About 100,000 people had been left homeless.

About 8,370 tents had been shipped to the quake zone, said Zou Ming, director of the disaster relief department with the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Thursday. 28,800 more tents would be sent to the epicentre Yushu prefecture, he said.

So far about 10,000 rescuers and medical workers were in the region, which was relatively small, but they were able to handle the situation, he said. The Ministry had asked the armed forces to help, he said. About 100,000 packaged meals had been airlifted from Xi'an, in Shaanxi Province, to Yushu.

Meanwhile, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao postponed planned overseas visits owing to the disaster. Mr. Hu postponed visits to Venezuela and Peru after a scheduled summit of Brazil, Russia, India and China slated for Thursday and Friday and a state visit to Brazil. Mr. Wen postponed a scheduled visit to Brunei, Indonesia and Myanmar on April 22 to 25.

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