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UPDATED: September 3, 2008  
Chinese Premier: Days Since May 12 Quake Shocking and Touching

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called the past 110 days since the May 12 quake "shocking and touching" when speaking to journalists in southwest China's quake-hit Sichuan Province on Tuesday.

"The past 110 days were days that shocked our minds, and also days that touched our hearts," said Wen. "It's not a long time, but what we did, as witnessed by people all over the world, will go down in history."

"Saving people was given absolute priority. We made the utmost efforts to save people's lives even if there was a slightest hope, and we never gave up," Wen recalled at an improvisatori press conference in Yingxiu Town, the epicenter of the May 12 quake.

About 84,000 people were rescued out of debris after the quake, according to Wen.

The 8.0-magnitude earthquake killed more than 69,000 people in Sichuan and neighboring provinces and left nearly 18,000 missing.

According to the quake relief headquarters under the State Council, now people in the quake zone had no problem in eating, drinking among other life necessities. No major epidemics were reported and industry and agriculture basically resumed.

The nation also demonstrated a kind of great spirit in the quake rescue and relief efforts and gained plenty of precious experiences in coping with emergencies, Wen said. "These will be more everlasting in the quake zone and in our hearts."

Citing soldiers rescuing life around the clock, volunteers taking care of survivors and local people helping each other, Wen expressed his appreciation for all the merits demonstrated on the rescuers and survivors.

Wen said the rebuilding of houses and infrastructures remained the most urgent and difficult task for relief work, citing that it took more than 100 days to fully repair the trunk road linking quake-hit Dujiangyan and Wenchuan and it required no less to keep it open as aftershocks continued to trouble the areas.

According to Wen, in October a nationwide campaign will be launched on donating clothes and quilts to the quake zone to help people there spend winter "safe and sound".

He vowed the central government would continue the relief work as best as it can along with local governments and residents.

(Xinhua News Agency Sseptember 2, 2008)

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