Premier Li: Rescue is top priority in quake relief


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday urged officials to take the rescue of people as top priority in relief work after a deadly 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit southwest China’s Yunnan Province, killing at least 398 people.

(AP / Xinhua, Yao Dawei)

Leading a delegation of senior government officials, Premier Li arrived at the quake-hit city of Zhaotong, Yunnan, around noon Monday to examine the situation of the earthquake and give instructions on disaster rescue and relief efforts.

Since local road traffic has been paralyzed by Sunday’s quake and its aftershocks, the Chinese premier had to walk to the epicenter, Longtoushan Township, where electricity and telecommunications remain cut off.

He talked to injured residents at the earthquake zone and inquired about their living conditions.

He urged greatest efforts to search for the missing and rescue those buried under the debris.

Damaged roads as well as electricity and telecommunications facilities must be repaired as soon as possible to pave the way for the relief work, he said.

Shelter, food, water and medical treatment should be appropriately arranged for local residents, the premier said.

He also visited the shelters for displaced residents and comforted those affected by the disaster.

After visiting a temporary medical station, Li inquired about supply of medicines and asked the medical staff to carefully treat the injured.

The quake happened at 16:30 Sunday (Beijing Time), with the focus having a depth of 12 km, toppling more than 12,000 houses and forcing 57,200 residents to be displaced from the quake zone, according to the Yunnan Provincial Department of Civil Affairs. Three people were still missing as of 14:00 on Monday.

On Monday morning, the China Earthquake Administration upgraded its emergency response in the quake-stricken region to Grade I, the highest level.

As of 08:00 Monday, 411 aftershocks had been recorded in the quake-hit region, with four measuring between 4.0 to 4.9 on the Richter scale and five between 3.0 to 3.9 magnitude, according to the administration.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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