China quake death toll tops 51,000, gov't appeals for 3.1m tents

China said the death toll from last week's powerful earthquake jumped to more than 51,000, while the government appealed Thursday for millions of tents to shelter homeless survivors. The confirmed number of dead rose to 51,151 - a jump of almost 10,000 from the day before, Cabinet spokesman Guo Weimin told a news conference. Another 29,328 people remained missing and nearly 300,000 were hurt in the May 12 quake centered in Sichuan province, he said. The disaster destroyed or damaged millions of homes, including more than 80 percent of the buildings in some remote towns and villages near the epicenter. In bigger cities, whole apartment blocks collapsed or are now too dangerous to live in because of damage and worries about aftershocks. The government renewed an international appeal Thursday for help in housing some of the 5 million homeless survivors.