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7.0-magnitude earthquake hits southwest China's Sichuan

2013-04-23

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan county of Ya'an city in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 8:02 a.m. Beijng Time on 20 April 2013, with 2,536 aftershocks recorded in the next two days. The quake has affected more than 1.99 million people in 115 counties in Sichuan Province and also the neighboring Chongqing Municipality and Yunnan Province. As of 22 April, the death toll rose to 192, and 23 people were reported missing, 11,470 others were injured and 968 people with serious injuries.

In the wake of the devastating earthquake, Chinese President Xi Jinping immediately made instructions to save lives and help the affected. Entrusted by President Xi Jinping, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang rushed to the epicenter just hours after the quake. Premier Li urged that no minute or even second should be delayed during the "golden rescue period" in the first 72 hours after the quake and ordered the rescue teams to reach every household in all villages in the quake-hit mountainous areas to rescue survivors and treat the injured.

The quake-hit areas have received 1.13 billion RMB yuan (approximately 140 million euros) as earthquake relief special fund and 144 million RMB yuan (approximately 18 million euros) from donation. So far, 33,545 tents, 140,116 quilts, 10,000 pieces of clothes, 6,240 folding beds, 2,180 tons of food and drinking water have been delivered in the quake zone and more relief supplies are on their way. The quake damaged roads totalling 3,920 km in Sichuan Province and 3,513 km of them have been reopened over the past two days. The quake also caused blackout in 473 villages of Ya'an city, and 336 of them have seen power supply restored.

Military and civilian rescue teams are struggling to find survivors in Lushan and neighboring counties. A total of 22,123 soldiers and officers from China's military and armed police forces and paramilitary reserve forces have been sent to the affected areas. A total of 1,800 medical workers have rushed to the quake-hit-areas in 183 medical teams to treat the injured in a timely manner so as to reduce deaths and injuries to the minimum. The medical teams and hospitals in Sichuan have given medical treatment to more than 10,000 injured people.

At the moment, the rescue and relief efforts are under the way intensively and efficiently. The Chinese government and people are making every effort to provide the affected people with proper shelter, food and drinking water. Due measures have also been taken in the quake area to prevent epidemic diseases and secondary disasters such as landslides caused by aftershocks.

The Chinese government and people appreciate international solidarity and sympathy in the wake of this massive earthquake. We have every confidence that we will be able to overcome the difficulties and help the affected communities rebuild their homes and lives.

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