Premier Li Keqiang walked for more than 5 km on a narrow, muddy country road on Aug 4 to reach the epicenter of the deadly earthquake that struck the remote area and oversee relief efforts.
Li arrived in Longquan village, Yunnan province, to inspect the severe damage caused by the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck Aug 3, claiming the lives of at least 398 people and injured more than 1,802 as of 8 pm, Aug 4.
On his walk to the village, Li stepped aside many times for soldiers and doctors who were carrying the injured, telling them to “hurry up” and “seize every second to rescue people”.
“Now is the most crucial time!” Li shouted from the top of a devastated building to the army troops and armed police who were busy searching for survivors.
He added: “If you save one more person, you save one more happy family. Saving lives is the top priority. Hurry up! Don’t stop! Save people at all costs!”
Because many buildings along the road had visible cracks, Li urged local officials to go into each room to check if it was safe and to make sure no resident lives under a roof that may collapse. He said more tents were being transferred to the area for temporary shelter.
Some local officials told Li that food and other relief supplies were in shortage due to the damage to most roads into the area. Li immediately ordered for food, water and medicine to be delivered by air.
Many injured villagers were being treated in a temporary medical station in the playground of the village’s middle school. Li went there in person to make sure the medical supplies were adequate. He told doctors and nurses to take good care of each patient and to keep the death and disability rates as low as possible.