Special report: Strong Earthquake Jolts SW China
CHENGDU, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The first batch of 100
elite soldiers were parachuted on Wednesday afternoon into an area near the
epicenter of Monday's earthquake in southwest China.
The parachutists landed on 12:20 p.m. safely in the
cut-off Maoxian county, northeast of the epicenter Wenchuan.
Death toll caused by Monday's major quake in Maoxian,
with a population of roughly 105,000, rose to 95 as of 3 p.m. Wednesday,
according to the parachutists, along with 836 injured and 92 missing.
Of the injured, 56 were in critical conditions, according
to 15 parachutists who had made contact with military sources, citing a
lack of food and tetanus medicines.
Two of the county's hydropower stations were severely
damaged during the quake, and dam breaks were feared, the parachutists said.
Local government and the paratroopers are now
engaging in evacuation of the county residents, the military sources said.
The parachutists were selected from the airborne
China planned to parachute troops and supplies into
Wenchuan on Tuesday, but later called off the action due to unfavorable weather
conditions including thunderstorms and heavy rain.