Over 7,500 soldiers deployed to quake-hit Sichuan

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China has deployed more than 7,500 military and armed police soldiers and 10 aircraft to the area hit by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake Saturday morning in southwest China's Sichuan Province to help with rescue and relief efforts.

The Central Military Commission (CMC) ordered the Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC) to setup a joint command to lead all the armed forces units in the rescue and relief mission.

In a special meeting held at noon Saturday, the CMC called for all-out efforts in the disaster relief work, with saving lives the priority.

All of the four departments of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the Chengdu Military Area Command, the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) and the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) have started carrying out emergency response for rescue and relief.

As of 4 p.m. Beijing time (8 a.m. GMT), the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) deployed 10 sorties of transport planes and helicopters for various rescue and relief work, including aerial photography, transporting and disaster situation reconnaissance.

More than 800 officers and soldiers from Chengdu MAC air force have been sent to the quake-hit area to open a landing spot for helicopters, and 50 engineering rescue specialists have arrived for field rescue work, while a PLAAF base in Sichuan deployed over 220 military staff to the area.

China's People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) has dispatched 3,900 officers and soldiers from its contingent stationed in Sichuan Province, and so far 2,600 of them have arrived at six towns in the quake-hit area to carry out rescue and relief work.

The Air Force Commander General Ma Xiaotian, who was overseeing the Air Force's units in the southwest Yunnan Province, changed his itinerary to Sichuan's Qionglai county, where he set up an Air Force headquarter for quake relief.

The Air Force Command also scrambled two reconnaissance aircraft from Beijing at 10:08 a.m. and 11:42 a.m. Saturday to take aerial photographs over the quake-hit area in Sichuan.

A transport aircraft was scrambled to Kunming of Yunnan Province from where it took a national rescue and relief team and transported it to the quake-hit area.

The Chengdu MAC has also sent medical aid, transport and engineering teams to assist in the quake-hit region.


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