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19,000 soldiers, officers dispatched to quake zone


08:06, April 23, 2013

BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhua) -- total of 19,000 soldiers and officers from China's military and armed police forces have been sent to quake-hit areas in Sichuan Province, rushing to find survivors while helping resettle 24,000 locals.

Zhou Xiaozhou, head of the rescue headquarters of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC), said that troops had rescued four people out of debris, treated 2,875 injured and transferred some 1,355 tonnes of relief materials as of 12 a.m. Monday.

"We're still within the 'golden' 72 hours after the quake, and our troops will continue to give priority to rescuing lives," Zhou said, adding that soldiers and officers are trying to enter every village in the quake-hit region.

The 7.0-magnitude that struck Lushan County of Sichuan's Ya'an City at 8:02 a.m. Beijing time on Saturday had claimed at least 192 lives and left with more than 11,470 people injured. More than 1.5 million people have been affected by the disaster.

Meanwhile, the troops are exhausting every means to send relief materials to affected areas as soon as possible as many regions still lack water, food, tents and medicine, according to Zhou.

He added that special teams dispatched by the army have also begun working in the region to offer medical treatment, psychological consultations and epidemic prevention efforts.

On Monday afternoon, a unit of the China International Search and Rescue Team (CISAR) arrived at the seriously affected Baoxing County and began searching for survivors with the help of four sniffer dogs and professional equipment.

According to Fu Xiaoguang, commander-in-chief of the CISAR, the unit found no traces of life in four badly-damaged sites after repeated search efforts.

"Although no traces of life have been found, we won't give up searching as long as there is hope," Fu said.

Currently, five units of a 180-strong CISAR group are separately searching for survivors in Baoxing and another four villages and towns in the Lushan County.

Meanwhile, the National Health and Family Planning Commission on Monday sent another medical team consisting of eight orthopaedic experts from Beijing and Shanghai to Sichuan to assist in the treatment of quake-wounded people.

Figures from the commission show that a total of 10,579 wounded people had been treated as of 3:30 p.m. Monday, with 4,312 discharged from hospitals and 1,535 being hospitalized.

No major epidemic or emergency health incidents have been found so far in the quake zone, according to the commission.

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