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Beijing Review Exclusive
Special> Aftermath of the Quake> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: May 20, 2008 NO. 21 MAY 22, 2008)
Sparing No Effort
The whole nation is keeping an eye on the quake-stricken area. As of May 16, the death toll had reached close to 19,509, which is certain to rise as the buried are found

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked southwest China's Sichuan Province on May 12. The whole nation is keeping an eye on the quake-stricken area. As of May 16, the death toll had reached close to 19,509, which is certain to rise as the buried are found.

Before the world had time to recover from the cyclone that had already claimed 34,000 lives in Myanmar until mid-May, the earth groaned again. The Sichuan earthquake is the deadliest tremor in China in three decades, taking life and property in a matter of moments. The quake-stricken area was famous for its fascinating scenery. In its place the quake has left a trail of ruptured roads and landslides, broken buildings and broken hearts.

The earthquake cut off all points of all avenues of communication-road, rail and telephone. Then the power went down. To make matter worse, bad weather hampered the rescue efforts to save those still living.

In the face of the overwhelming disaster, the whole country is rallying together in the fight to offer assistance. The Central Government launched relief measures quickly and various forces are preparing themselves for the relief work. More than 100,000 troops have or are entering the disaster area. Medical teams and relief suppliers are pouring into Sichuan from around the country.

Soon after the earthquake occurred, President Hu Jintao ordered personnel to rescue and save the injured as soon as possible and to ensure the safety of people in the disaster area. During his investigation tour to Mianyang on May 16, President Hu emphasized, "Although the ‘golden relief time,' which refers to the 72 hours after an earthquake occurs, has already passed, saving lives is still the top priority of our work."

Premier Wen Jiabao flew to the disaster area on the same day the quake struck, acting as the chief commander of relief efforts. He pledged to save lives at any cost.

The Chinese people are showing unprecedented unity and cohesion in helping their fallen compatriots in different ways-to reestablish communications between disaster area and the outside, recover telecommunications and the supply of water and power, as well as provide medical services and various urgent supplies. The governments at various levels, charity institutions and people from all walks of life are donating money for the disaster area. People in Sichuan and across the country have offered to donate blood to those injured in the quake.

Situated in China's southwest, on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, Sichuan boasts resilient people, spicy food and is the home of the giant panda. It borders Chongqing Municipality to the east, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces to the south, Tibet to the west and Qinghai, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces to the north. Covering an area of 485,000 square km, Sichuan ranks fifth in terms of land area, following Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Qinghai. This is a populous province, with over 80 million people. Recent years have seen Sichuan achieve rapid development in industry, agriculture, science and technology.

Chinese tradition has always valued human life above all else. As Premier Wen said at the earthquake site, "We will spare no effort to save people's lives. As long as the people are alive, we will surely rebuild our homes, even better than before!"

Let's mourn the dead and pray for the living. There is much work to be done.

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