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Rescue work starts at the quake's epicenter
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The first batch of 47 injured were evacuated on Wednesday by helicopters from Wenchuan county, epicenter of the deadly Monday earthquake, to Chengdu, Sichuan's provincial capital.

They were taken to Huaxi Hospital, the largest hospital in Chengdu.

A second, larger batch, also arrived in Chengdu, according to a report on Sichuan TV, which didn't say how many people are in the batch.

More than 800 soldiers have arrived at the county seat of Wenchuan, and some 600 people, including soldiers and medical workers, are to be sent to the Yingxiu town of Wenchuan.

A temporary dock has been set up at the Zipingpu reservoir in Dujiangyan City, about 100 kilometers from the epicenter.

"The voyage from the dock to Yingxiu takes 50 minutes, four hours faster than by land, and the land route is hampered by landslides," said a reporter surnamed Shen with the China Central Television.

About a dozen ships are in operation, each carrying 12 people.

Rescuers have to cover the distance from Yingxiu town to the county seat of Wenchuan on foot after the voyage.

In Yingxiu, where 70 percent to 80 percent of buildings have toppled, rescue work has started mainly in two sites -- the central primary school and an electric power company.

In the school, some students were buried in the quake. Six have been recovered while rescuers have established contact with two others.

In the kindergarten of the electric power company, two buried children were confirmed as alive. They could both speak and move.

But rescue work is difficult because of a lack of digging equipment. There is only one crane and one grab. Most of the time rescuers have to dig with their own hands.

Officers with the Chengdu Military Area Command said two helicopters airdropped food, drinking water and medicine to Yingxiu town at noon Wednesday.

Premier Wen Jiabao went to Yingxiu by helicopter on Wednesday afternoon to inspect the situation, and then returned to Chengdu.

(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2008)

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