Rescuers trying to reach every household
Updated: 2013-04-21 18:15
LUSHAN, Sichuan - Military and civilian rescue teams are struggling to reach every household in Lushan and neighboring counties of southwest China's Sichuan Province, badly hit by Saturday's strong earthquake.
Rescue soldiers search for survivors at the quake-hit Baosheng township in Lushan county, Sichuan province, April 21, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]
Military rescue teams will also help re-open roads, transport materials, build shelters and ship supplies.
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 affected areas, and so far 10,000 have reached areas which are seriously stricken, said a statement of the Chengdu MAC command.
The armed forces will also dispatch 23 helicopters to carry out material transportation missions, the command statement said.
Moreover, more than 2,300 firemen have been engaged in rescue work, according to the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).
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.
In addition, ten senior medical experts from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences rushed from Beijing to Sichuan on Sunday morning to help prevent the epidemic outbreak in the quake-hit areas.
They brought device to test and disinfect drinking water and food as well as protection device for medical workers, said the source with the academy.
The medical team also carried medicines to treat possible human infections of 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.
A total of 186 people have been confirmed dead in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake so far, according to the CEA.
More than 1.5 million people have been affected. The quake has affected 69 counties in Sichuan as well as some areas in neighboring Chongqing Municipality and Yunnan Province.
REACHING ISOLATED AREAS
Rescuers have been struggling to reach isolated townships and villages, due to roads and telecommunication being cutoff.
Police rescuers are covering all areas of Lushan County, the epicenter of the quake, and several rescue teams struggled into neighboring Baoxing County, which remains hard to access.
More than 870 firemen have been sent to Baoxing, carrying light rescue equipment and taking 11 sniffer dogs with them.
According to the first firemen who reached the seat of Baoxing County, local residents' homes were badly damaged, while power and water supplies as well as telecom services were shut off.
Airborne remote sensing images from the Beijing-based Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, showed more than 60 percent of buildings in the Baoxing County seat had suffered damage.
Most damage occurred to old residential buildings while schools and government buildings were still standing, an institute source said.
At least 38 landslide sites were found near the county seat and a number of them were on roads linking the county with other areas, which might affect transport, it said.
Two medical teams reached Baoxing County on Sunday morning and started work in Lingguan, a main township in Baoxing, said Liang Wannian, a senior official with the national health commission.
"Telecom signals remain weak and frequently fail so it is difficult for us to remain in contact with the two teams," Liang said.
The commission plans to airlift more medical workers from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, using Air Force helicopters, he said.
Rescue soldiers rest on the ground at the quake-hit Baosheng township in Lushan county, Sichuan province, April 21, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]
Ten medical teams are standing by at Lushan and will reinforce Baoxing when needed, he added.
Moreover, another national earthquake emergency rescue team arrived Sunday morning at Lushan for disaster relief, the China Earthquake Administration (CEA) said.
The team consists of 200 rescue workers, including 21 seismologists and 39 medical staff, according to the CEA. They have taken more than 30 tonnes of supplies to the quake area.
They will try to enter Baoxing with armed police rescuers by helicopters around 3:00 p.m., the CEA said.
Rescuers on Saturday reached Qiaoqi, a town in Baoxing, which is largely inhabited by Tibetan people. They found that the damage there was not particularly serious with only one person injured so far, according to Qing Hai, a senior officer of the fire-fighting department of Sichuan provincial police force.
The rescue headquarters also called on volunteers and non-rescue vehicles not to enter this area without permission, in order to avoid additional traffic pressure in the affected areas.