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Rescuers reach all quake-hit villages
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At a meeting on Monday afternoon, Premier Wen Jiabao asked the armed forces to reach victims in every quake-hit village within 24 hours.

The rescuers will carry a certain amount of food and water and the army will keep air-dropping necessities to remote villages amid deep mountains, said Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, who was overseeing rescue work at Yinghua township, Shifang city, Sichuan Province.

Medical workers will arrive at villages together, he said.

The armed forces will also set up mobile field kitchens at large-scale temporary shelters to provide hot meals to residents, Guo added.

At a meeting of the State Council's earthquake relief headquarters presided over by the premier on Tuesday, a decision was made to procure and deliver more tents and awnings to quake-affected provinces this month and in June.

The meeting planned to collect 40,000 tents to distribute in disaster areas before the end of May and send 30,000 tents each day thereafter, along with 800,000 awnings in June.

Tents and awnings have been named as the most wanted materials by more than 110,000 military and civilian rescuers after the major quake, measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale, ravaged Sichuan on May 12.

The quake has left an estimated 5 million homeless. Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Jiang Li reiterated at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that tents were still badly needed.

Tent and awning production has become a priority for manufacturers in other parts of the country and all forms of transport have been told to give priority to these shipments.

Wen pledged to transport 6,000 sets of temporary buildings to the quake areas in the next two days, 250,000 sets by the end of June and 1 million sets within three months.

He also urged the Water Resources Ministry to send experts to dams and reservoirs in quake-hit areas for 24-hour patrols since the weather forecast is for heavy rains in the next 48 hours.

(Xinhua News Agency May 21, 2008)

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