Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has asked for public calm and efficient organization of disaster relief work after a major quake hit southwest China's Sichuan Province on Monday.
Wen has arrived at Dujiangyan, a city northwest of the provincial capital Chengdu, and started to oversee disaster relief work. The city was less than 100 kilometers from the quake's epicenter at Wenchuan County.
The road from Dujiangyan to Wenchuan was blocked by rock and mud slides, holding up rescue, medical and other disaster relief teams, a witness said via mobile phone.
The road from Dujiangyan to Wenchuan had been blocked by rock and mud slides, holding up rescue, medical and other disaster relief teams, a witness said via mobile phone.
Power supplies and telecommunications links to Wenchuan are still out.
Premier Wen asked military personnel waiting in the city to enter the area as soon as possible even if they had to walk to Wenchuan.
The earlier the troops arrived, the more lives they could save, he said.
Speaking as he flew to the area to oversee relief work, Wen said the CPC Central Committee and the Cabinet had ordered Party and government officials at all levels to the front line to organize disaster relief.
Officials should make every effort to help the people and to overcome fear and fatigue, Wen said aboard his flight to Taipingsi airport on the outskirts of the Sichuan provincial capital, Chengdu, on Monday evening.
"My fellow Chinese, facing such a severe disaster, we need calm, confidence, courage and efficient organization," he said.
"I believe we can certainly overcome the disaster with the public and the military working together under the leadership of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the government, " he said.
The quake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, jolted Wenchuan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 2:28 p.m. on Monday, according to the China Seismological Bureau (CSB).
The epicenter of the quake is located 31 degrees north and 103.4 degrees east, the bureau said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2008)