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Beijing Review Exclusive
Special> Aftermath of the Quake> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: July 26, 2008 NO. 31 JUL. 31, 2008
Military Marvels
The crucial role played by China's military since the Sichuan earthquake has endeared them to the country more than ever

hours. They reported the destruction of the earthquake to army commanders using satellite telephones, which provided an important basis for the decision-making of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

On May 16, Chinese President Hu Jintao delivered an order on earthquake relief to take all measures to enter all earthquake-devastated villages.

From the evening of May 16, military relief teams began a long march, day and night, to reach mountainous villages cut off from the outside world. Within one week of the earthquake, military relief forces had entered all the 244 townships and 2,044 villages according to their orders.

By July 17, about 138,000 relief forces from the army and armed police had rescued 3,336 people from the earthquake rubble and evacuated 1.4 million as well as clearing over 19.42 million cubic meters of rubble and disinfecting 1.55 billion square meters of ground. Military medical forces had treated over 1.19 million injured, and military aircraft had flown 4,684 times and transported 7,474 tons of material.

As well as physical aid, the military brought mental relief. The General Political Department of the PLA organized the first team of therapists from military forces to the earthquake zone, which offered psychological therapy for 895 people and trained 216 therapists for local medical institutions and earthquake relief forces.

The military also acted as the guardian of civil society when on May 20, a unit of military relief forces dug cash, bankbooks, jewelry and securities worth nearly 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) from the debris in Ya'an City, Sichuan Province and handed them over to their owners. On May 19-21, at the request of the local government, two engineering detachments used heavy machinery to dig up bags of money and cash vaults from the rubble of two banks in Beichuan County.

(Compiled from reports of Xinhua News Agency)

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