Chinese President Hu Jintao Saturday night urged local governments at all levels and relevant central government departments to take quake relief as the most important and pressing issue in their work.
Hu, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks at a meeting here after hearing reports on the situation of the rescue and relief work after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Sichuan Province.
He called for unremitting efforts to search for and rescue the trapped people though five days had passed after the disaster.
"We should put people first and saving people's lives is still the top priority of the relief work," he said.
Troops, armed police, and public security personnel should reach villages and search every collapsed buildings to save the people, he said.
Hu also called for all-out efforts to save and cure injured survivors, urging to transfer them to hospitals with better conditions.
Hygiene measures in the quake-hit areas should be beefed up to prevent the spread of diseases, and more medical experts should be sent to quake-hit areas to help prevent and control possible epidemics, Hu said.
The strong earthquake that rocked Sichuan Province Monday afternoon was also felt in many parts of the country. It had caused 28,881 deaths nationwide as of 2 p.m. Saturday.
(Xinhua News Agency May 18, 2008)