Close to 1,700 people were killed and over 12,000 people injured after a magnitude 6.9 quake hit the remote mountainous area bordering the Tibetan Autonomous Region last Wednesday.

More than 100,000 people have been displaced in the sparsely-populated western region.

Rescuers continued to painstakingly search through huge piles of rubble for more survivors, and officials said another 256 people were still missing.

The disaster relief headquarters said the region had received more than 1,200 aftershocks since the main quake, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

At the weekend the bodies of hundreds of quake victims were cremated outside Jiegu, to prevent the risks of deadly disease outbreaks, on a massive funeral pyre set ablaze by chanting Buddhist monks.

Relief convoy

Government-issued blue tents sparsely dotted the landscape, with a horse racing track-turned refugee camp, the largest of several tent cities in Jiegu town, the main population centre near the quake's epicentre.

Officials said more than 250 people are
still unaccounted for [EPA]

On Monday, construction machinery and relief supply-laden lorries clogged the town's streets, replacing troops, search teams and rescue workers who pulled out overnight.

But thousands of Tibetan Buddhist monks stayed on, picking at rubble with shovels, performing funeral rites and throwing food from the backs of lorries.

Dressed in their maroon and saffron robes, the monks continued to help in the emergency response, helping to clear the debris of flattened houses and buildings and distribute food to residents.

Army lorries sprayed water on roads to reduce dust, and mobile toilets arrived, just in time as the spread of diseases was becoming a concern after more than five days without running water.

Classes resumed at Yushi No 3 Elementary School, with hundreds of students trooping into tents filled with small wooden desks and chairs salvaged from the rubble, to resume lessons.

"On the one hand students are coming back to resume classes. On the other hand, we are giving the students some psychological treatment after the disaster," Danzeng Jiangcuo, a math teacher, said.

"We are trying to help them forget the disaster and not feel scared anymore."