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Special> Aftermath of the Quake> Latest News
UPDATED: May 20, 2008  
Premier Orders Troops Into All Quake Villages

Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday ordered troops to expand the coverage of their quake rescue work and reach all affected villages within 24 hours.

He also ordered stepped-up epidemic prevention work and the proper handling of the quake aftermath.

Troops must "overcome all difficulties and make sure to go into all villages within 24 hours," Wen said, presiding over a meeting of the general headquarters of quake relief under the State Council (cabinet).

Wen, who heads the relief headquarters, was briefed during the meeting on the rescue of trapped people, treatment of the injured, the handling of victims' bodies and health and epidemic prevention work in the quake areas.

The death toll rose to 34,073 as of noon on Monday, according to the headquarters under the State Council. Another 245,108 people were injured in the 8-magnitude quake that jolted southwestern Sichuan Province last Monday.

Medical treatment, epidemic prevention teams and medical equipment and material must reach all quake areas, and where no medics or disease prevention workers have arrived, arrangements must be made for airlifting medics and medicine to these places, the meeting said.

Within the next five days, 500 more health and epidemic prevention workers would be sent each day to the quake areas, and 1,000 health supervisors would be deployed, the headquarters said.

The National Development and Reform Commission and the Health Ministry were told at the meeting to mobilize epidemic prevention resources from other parts of the country and commission enterprises in Sichuan or neighboring provinces to produce disinfectant medicine.

Meanwhile, the meeting urged the immediate printing of 5 million brochures to be distributed to the quake areas, and it asked newspapers to publish columns to enhance the public awareness of epidemic prevention.

It also asked for the immediate distribution of 400 mobile phones equipped with epidemic reporting software and positioning systems to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, in an effort to beef up the direct epidemic reporting work.

The meeting also covered the proper handling of the victims. As bodies were found, they should be quickly identified under the guidance of the health department. Meanwhile, work should be done properly concerning the consolation of each victim's relatives, it said.

The headquarters also ordered proper arrangements for orphans, the bereaved elderly and bereaved handicapped people. Under a decision of the State Council, within the next three months, each of them will be offered 600 yuan (86 U.S. dollars) every month for basic living expenses.

The meeting directed the Ministry of Civil Affairs to immediately start the identification of these three categories of people among quake survivors.

(Xinhua News Agency May 20, 2008)

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