More than 50,000 troops have been sent to the disaster areas. By late Tuesday afternoon, 20,000 soldiers had arrived to join the relief efforts.
After the earthquake, President Hu Jintao immediately ordered army personnel to assist with quake-relief work in the affected areas.
A command center was also established by the Central Military Committee on Tuesday morning to coordinate the relief efforts.
Soldiers from Jinan and Chengdu Military Area Commands were making their way to the affected areas any way they could - by plane, train, road - and even on foot. The air force was ordered to parachute relief troops into Wenchuan, but heavy rainstorms on Tuesday forced them to abandon the operation.
Military planes have also been ordered to send disaster relief personnel and supplies, including tents, food, makeshift hospital facilities, water-disinfecting equipment and medicine. Other transport links have given priority to relief supplies. 60 military medical-relief teams have already set out for the affected areas. And a team of 150 quake-relief experts has also reached the town of Mianyang, which was badly hit by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, two army planes have begun a surveillance mission in the worst-hit areas, offering the first close look at the damage in areas near the quake's epicenter.
(CCTV May 14, 2008)