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Five injured villagers airlifted to safety
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08:39, May 23, 2008

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· 8.0 Richter scale earthquake hits SW China
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Yuan Dexiang heaved the greatest sigh of relief after being lifted into a Black Hawk helicopter.

The 53-year-old resident of Shuijiepai village in Yingxiu town was among the five seriously injured to be rescued by Chengdu Military Command's Aviation Regiment yesterday.

All the people trapped in the isolated Yingxiu village after the earthquake have now been moved to safety, military officers said.

"We have shifted all the seriously injured out of isolated areas," said Xu Yong, commander of a Chongqing-based army corp.

Yuan and the other four survivors had been trapped in the village for 10 days. Her condition perhaps was worse than the others, for she could not move at all because both her legs had been broken. To make matters worse, her wounds had begun rotting.

After reaching Chengdu at 6:58 pm, the five injured were sent to Sichuan University's Huaxi Hospital for immediate treatment.

A 10-member rescue team that trekked for eight hours in the mountains first saw the injured villagers five days ago. The team immediately sent back a message to the military command center, asking for helicopters to lift the injured out of the village.

The Aviation Regiment sent four rescue choppers, but none could land in the village because it's surrounded by precipitous cliffs. So the rescue team had to clear the debris of a destroyed building to make an improvised landing spot, where the Black Hawk touched down at 5:30 yesterday.

The army has started blowing up the badly damaged buildings with explosives in the center of Yingxiu town to expedite the clean-up operation. And the military and relief workers are gearing up to build temporary homes on 15,000 sq m.

An estimated 98 percent of the buildings were damaged or destroyed in some worst-hit counties and towns.

Source: China Daily

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