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Special> Aftermath of the Quake> Latest News
UPDATED: May 21, 2008  
Rescuers Reach All China Quake Areas; Survivors Still Found
Rescuers had reached all the 1,044 quake-hit villages that are under 134 townships in southwestern Sichuan Province by Tuesday evening

Rescuers had reached all the 1,044 quake-hit villages that are under 134 townships in southwestern Sichuan Province by Tuesday evening, according to a military source.

Soldiers and armed police are still trying to rescue survivors from the debris and bring food and water to villages that have been isolated since the May 12 earthquake, the source said.

Rescuers saved a man named Ma Yuanjiang at around 12:50 a.m. Tuesday from the rubble in Wenchuan County, nearly 179 hours after the powerful earthquake.

In Pengzhou, a 60-year-old woman, who had lived on rainwater in the past days, was rescued at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday from rubble, more than 196 hours after the quake.

At the small village of Maliu, in Leigu township in worst-hit Beichuan county, rescuers found 80-year-old Ren Chengzhen and her polio-afflicted son, who had lost everything.

Soldiers gave them bread, instant noodles and bottled water and helped them set up a tent while sending Ren for examination.

Eighty-six residents of Maliuping village near the top of a 1,200-meter mountain had been cut off since the quake. Rescuers evacuated them on Monday afternoon after trekking through a 32-km dangerous mountain path that had about 37 landslides.

The 56-year-old Wang Chunbang was also one of the lucky survivors found by rescuers on their way to remote villages. He had been trapped for 164 hours in a damaged manganese pit in Qingchuan, northern Sichuan, until an eight-member rescue team found him on Monday morning while searching for survivors in the mountains between two townships there.

At a meeting on Monday afternoon, Premier Wen Jiabao asked the armed forces to reach victims in every quake-hit village within 24hours.

The rescuers will carry a certain amount of food and water and the army will keep air-dropping necessities to remote villages amid deep mountains, said Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, who was overseeing rescue work at Yinghua township, Shifang city, Sichuan Province.

Medical workers will arrive at villages together, he said.

The armed forces will also set up mobile field kitchens at large-scale temporary shelters to provide hot meals to residents, Guo added.

At a meeting of the State Council's earthquake relief headquarters presided over by the premier on Tuesday, a decision was made to procure and deliver more tents and awnings to quake-affected provinces this month and in June.

The meeting planned to collect 40,000 tents to distribute in disaster areas before the end of May and send 30,000 tents each day thereafter, along with 800,000 awnings in June.

Tents and awnings have been named as the most wanted materials by more than 110,000 military and civilian rescuers after the major quake, measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale, ravaged Sichuan on May 12.

The quake has left an estimated 5 million homeless. Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Jiang Li reiterated at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that tents were still badly needed.

Tent and awning production has become a priority for manufacturers in other parts of the country and all forms of transport have been told to give priority to these shipments.

Wen pledged to transport 6,000 sets of temporary buildings to the quake areas in the next two days, 250,000 sets by the end of June and 1 million sets within three months.

He also urged the Water Resources Ministry to send experts to dams and reservoirs in quake-hit areas for 24-hour patrols since the weather forecast is for heavy rains in the next 48 hours.

(Xinhua News Agency May 20, 2008)

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