Premier Li Keqiang pledged an efficient search and relief operation after he arrived in the town closest to the epicenter of the earthquake that hit Southwest China’s Yunnan province on Aug 3, killing at least 589 people.
Li focused on specific issues as he coordinated the operation in the afternoon of Aug 4 from a tent put up as a sort of headquarters for relief efforts in a school in Longtoushan, Yunnan.
Li said the top priority was to save lives in the first 72 hours after the disaster — considered to be a “golden period” to rescue people. He said every room in the most devastated area should be searched — by professional rescue teams assisted by local volunteers.
Li called for more doctors and nurses to be transferred to the quake-hit area to care for the injured and prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases. And he said the most seriously injured should be sent to surrounding areas like Zhaotong, Yibin and Kunming where they could receive better care — in a bid to limit casualties.
He vowed to provide clean water, adequate supplies of food and safe accommodation to residents affected by the quake, and he said rescuers should make full use of military helicopters to deliver supplies and transfer patients. Additionally, residents should not be allowed to enter unsafe buildings in search of basic necessities.
Li added that all resources, including the armed forces, will be mobilized to maintain the operation of roads and bridges. Electricity, water and telecommunication should be restored as soon as possible to facilitate the search for survivors, and rescuers should coordinate efforts so as to prevent secondary disasters caused by landslides and mudslides.
The central government has allocated 600 million yuan in relief funds to help those affected by the quake, and Li urged for timely distribution of the funds to needy residents and to help local people — especially farmers — resume their everyday activities.
Li said the civilian and military search and relief workers should coordinate their efforts, under the guidance of the local government.