Soldiers urged to continue search, rescue in quake zone

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A senior Chinese military official has urged soldiers and officers in the earthquake zone to continue search and rescue "as long as there is a gleam of hope."

Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks Wednesday at a meeting on quake relief after the 7.0-magnitude quake jolted Lushan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Saturday morning.

"Forces of the army and armed police should be scientifically assigned to the most necessary tasks in accordance with their professional skills, and local people's interests enjoy the highest priority," Fan said.

According to figures from the PLA General Staff Headquarters, some 19,000 soldiers and officers from China's military and armed police forces and members of paramilitary reserve forces had rescued 144 people from debris and relocated more than 46,000 as of 12 a.m. Wednesday.

Also, relief workers with the army and the armed police had treated some 10,000 injured people and set up more than 15,000 tents, with 13 tonnes of relief materials airlifted to the quake zone.

Fan urged the quake relief headquarters of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC) to strengthen coordinations with local Party and government departments to "voluntarily shoulder the most dangerous, urgent and arduous missions."

Fan's remarks were echoed by Xu Qiliang, also CMC vice chairman. Xu urged for all-out quake relief efforts in order to protect the lives and property of people in the disaster-hit region as he inspected troops stationed in southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Also on Wednesday, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said in a statement that a total of 12,080 health workers, including 2,838 personnel for epidemic prevention, had covered all 95 villages in Lushan and Baoxing counties.

A total of 4,707 injured people have been discharged from hospitals and another 1,508 are currently hospitalized.

No major epidemic or emergency health incidents have been found so far in the quake zone, according to the commission.

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