As relatives and friends continued to search for people still missing after a massive earthquake struck China earlier this week, priorities began shifting from the hunt for survivors to dealing with the dead on Friday.
Soldiers deployed in Wenchuan county, the epicentre of the earthquake, buried the more than 80 dead bodies of the earthquake victims, in the hope of avoiding the possible spread of disease.
At least 82 dead bodies were buried in a hill behind the small town of Yingxiu by around 30 People's Liberation Army soldiers on Friday afternoon.
All the dead bodies were wrapped in body bags and placed in line in a trench around five metres (16.4 feet) deep and 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) wide.
Soldiers threw lime onto the dead bodies before they buried them with earth.
The burial of the dead from the earthquake could help avoid the outbreak of possible disease in the area, as some of the bodies had started to decay in hot weather, local officials said.
Yingxiu Town, located in the mountains and close to the epicentre city of Wenchuan, was severely struck by the massive earthquake that broke out in China's central area on Monday.
Also on Friday, a strong aftershock sparked landslides near the epicentre of the earthquake, again cutting off ravaged areas of central China.
Across the disaster zone, survivors were still being pulled alive from rubble after four days buried, and the first foreign rescue workers were allowed to the scene.
Helicopters dropped leaflets into isolated areas urging victims to cooperate to survive.
An aftershock rattled parts of central Sichuan province on Friday afternoon, the official Xinhua News Agency said, burying vehicles on a road leading to the epicentre.
The number of new casualties there was unknown.
The US Geological Survey said the latest tremor measured magnitude 5.5 and was centered 6.2 miles (10 kilometres) below the surface, a relatively shallow quake, like the initial disaster.
The aftershock was one of the strongest among dozens that have shaken the area.
The government said on Friday the death toll had risen to about 22,069.
Another 14,000 people were still buried in Sichuan.
The government said it would investigate why so many school buildings collapsed in the quake - destroying about 6,900 classrooms, not including the hardest-hit counties - and severely punish anyone responsible for shoddy construction.
More than four (m) million apartments and homes had been damaged or destroyed in Sichuan province, according to the Housing Minister, and officials have said they expect the earthquake will eventually claim more than 50,000 lives.