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Sichuan holds drill on quake anniversary

By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)

10:18, May 12, 2012

Rescuers rush to save a "victim' at a disaster prevention drill in Chongzhou, Sichuan province, on Friday. The drill marks the fourth anniversary of the deadly Wenchuan earthquake that claimed more than 80,000 lives. (Photo by Wang Xiwei/for China Daily)

Sichuan province rehearsed dealing with disaster on Friday with a mock magnitude-8 earthquake along the Longmenshan fault zone at 1 pm.

Under the scenario of the disaster prevention and relief drill, the epicenter was in Jiezi township in Chongzhou. Dozens of people were buried in rubble, nearly 1,000 others injured. Houses were toppled, water, electricity and gas services and telecommunications crippled, in Jiezi and surrounding areas. A lake formed in Jiuling township, Jiangyou, and mudslides occurred in Qingping township, Mianzhu.

About 10 minutes after the imaginary quake took place, Liu Qibao, secretary of the Sichuan provincial committee of the Communist Party of China, convened a meeting of leading officials from the government and the armed forces, ordering police to guard major roads so rescue personnel could quickly reach the scene.

Amid a deafening siren, helicopters took off from the Fenghuangshan Military Airport in Chengdu, where firefighters, soldiers, militia, medics and volunteers from various areas converged to rush to the earthquake zone.

Four helicopters soon hovered in the sky over Jiezi where roads were blocked, dropping food, medicine, drinking water, clothes, radios and flashlights. Emergency communication maintenance personnel were also parachuted into the town, where they used a satellite phone to report the situation in the epicenter.

Approaching Jiezi, soldiers on assault boats heard cries for help. Nine locals were drowning in the Weijiang River.

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