Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Tuesday evening that saving lives is still the major task of current relief work against a major quake which jolted southwest China's Sichuan Province on Monday afternoon.
Wen made the remarks at a meeting of the disaster relief headquarters under the State Council.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao comforts the wounded child in Mianyang on May 13, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
He urged to seize opportunities to rescue people, reduce casualties, and resume roads to the quake-hit areas as soon as possible by all means.
"Transportation, electricity, communication and water supply should be resumed to ensure that the disaster relief work goes on successfully, and resuming transportation is the key," he said.
He also asked the health department to assign 3,000 medical staff to Sichuan as soon as possible.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao comforts the children who lost their relatives in the powerful earthquake in Mianyang on May 13, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
More than 20,000 soldiers and armed policemen have arrived in Sichuan and another 20,000 will arrive Wednesday. The air force's 18 helicopters served 28 tasks to drop 12.5 tons of foods and other relief material on Tuesday.
The Chinese International Rescue Team and local rescue teams have arrived at quake-hit areas and rescue people from debris.
Wen Tuesday afternoon visited Deyang and Mianyang cities, where he encouraged people to bravely confront natural disasters and overcome the hardships together.
Rescuers carry the body of a victim at the Juyuan High School in Juyuan Town, Dujiangyan City, southwest China's Sichuan Province, May 13, 2008. Rescuers work against the rainy weather to search quake survivors on Tuesday. (Xinhua Photo)
He visited a primary school where more than one hundred children were buried under debris when the quake occurred.
More than 70 students have been rescued. Wen said saving lives should be on top priority and all the collapsed buildings should be thoroughly inspected.
He urged relative departments to make proper arrangements of the victims, send food, tents, medical staff and medicine to them as soon as possible.
Around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wen visited Jiuzhou Stadium in Mianyang city, where more than 10,000 victims were temporarily resettled. He required relative departments to take good care of the orphans, helping them step out of the shadow of the disaster and grow up as happily as other children.
A strong quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County in Sichuan Province at 2:28 p.m. on Monday, causing more than 12,000 reported deaths by 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Sichuan alone.
(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2008)