Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (2nd L) visits a patient seriously injured in an earthquake, at Huaxi Hospital in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, April 21, 2013. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake jolted Lushan County of Sichuan Province on April 20 morning. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
LUSHAN, Sichuan, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Military and civilian rescue teams are struggling to find survivors in Lushan and neighboring counties of southwest China's Sichuan Province, badly hit by Saturday's strong earthquake.
On behalf of President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang who was on the frontline of quake relief, ordered the armed forces to reach every household in all villages in the quake-hit mountainous areas to rescue survivors and treat the injured.
Military rescue teams, under the command of the rescue headquarters of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC), will also help transport materials, build shelters and ship supplies.
RESCUE IN FULL FORCE
A total of 18,000 soldiers and officers from China's military and armed police forces and members of paramilitary reserve forces have been sent to the quake affected areas, and so far 10,000 have reached areas which are seriously stricken, according to a statement of the Chengdu MAC.
The armed forces will also dispatch 23 helicopters to carry out material transportation missions, the command statement said.
According to the head office of the armed police, 5,800 police staff have saved 103 people in quake hit areas.
Moreover, more than 2,300 firemen have been engaged in rescue work and saved 96 people, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
As of Sunday morning, a total of 982 medical workers and 202 medical vehicles had rushed to the quake-hit areas, said a statement from the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Hospitals in Sichuan received nearly 8,200 injured patients, it said.
The commission announced that the blood stock in Ya'an and Chengdu is sufficient and can fully meet needs.
It also said it has been prepared to transfer blood from across the country at any time to ensure enough is available in quake-hit areas.
In addition, ten senior medical experts from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences rushed from Beijing to Sichuan on Sunday morning to help prevent possible epidemic outbreak, including the H7N9 avian flu, the sources said.
Also on Sunday, the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television sent 300 battery-powered satellite receivers, 10,000 radios and a batch of mobile multi-media broadcast and TV receivers to the affected areas. So far, TV and radio broadcast signals have been kept alive in all regions where power supply is available.
A total of 186 people have been confirmed dead in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake so far, according to the local government. More than 1.5 million people have been affected.
Premier Li Keqiang and his senior aids in the State Council, China's Cabinet, rushed to the epicenter Saturday afternoon several hours after the quake.
Li started commanding the quake rescue and relief work when he was in the flight cabin from Beijing, and urged that no minute or even second should be delayed during the "golden rescue period" in the first 72 hours after the quake.
Gucheng, with a population of 3,000, is one of the worst-hit areas. Like many other villages, most of the old houses built by wood and bricks have been destroyed or severely damaged. Huge rocks falling from the mountains can be seen along the road.
Rescuers from Ya'an City, which administers Gucheng, are searching through rubble for survivors. "We have pulled 13 people out of the rubble, including 10 alive," said Luo Bin, a village official.
"We are not sure whether more people are buried underneath but the search will go on," he said.