Re­sponse speedy to Sichuan quake Xi urges all-out ef­forts to min­i­mize the num­ber of dead and in­jured

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - ByBy CAOCAO YINYIN in Bei­jing caoyin@caoyin@chi­nadaily.chi­

The death toll from a mag­ni­tude-7.0 earth­quake that struck Ji­uzhaigou county in Sichuan prov­ince on Tues­day night rose to 19 and the tally of the in­jured roserose toto 343,263, in­cluding­in­clud­ing sevenseven se­ri­ously and three in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, by Wed­nes­day evening. All-out res­cue ef­forts were con­tin­u­ing.

About 60,000 tourists and mi­grant work­ers had been evac­u­ated from the epi­cen­ter of the quake by 5 pm Wed­nes­day. “The evac­u­a­tion has been swift and ef­fi­cient,” said Liu Zuom­ing, di­rec­tor of the dis­as­ter re­lief head­quar­ters.

The quake struck Ji­uzhaigou county in the Aba Ti­betan and Qiang au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture at 9:19 pm on Tues­day at a depth of 20 kilo­me­ters. More than 1,000 af­ter­shocks — the strong­est mag­ni­tude-4.6 — had struck by late Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to the China Earth­quake Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

On Tues­day night, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping called for all-out ef­forts to rapidly or­ga­nize re­lief work and res­cue the in­jured. Xi said au­thor­i­ties should check the im­pact of the earth­quake, evac­u­ate and set­tle vis­i­tors and lo­cal peo­ple, and re­duce death and in­juries as much as pos­si­ble.

Since the earth­quake took place dur­ing the peak tourist sea­son as well as flood sea­son, au­thor­i­ties should en­hance me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal early warn­ings and ge­o­log­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing to guard against other dis­as­ters and try their best to pro­tect peo­ple’s lives and prop­erty, Xi added.

Premier Li Ke­qiang also urged lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to go all out in re­lief and mon­i­tor­ing work.

At least eight of the dead were tourists at Ji­uzhaigou, which has a na­tional park known for its spec­tac­u­lar wa­ter­falls and karst for­ma­tions, ac­cord­ing to the dis­as­ter re­lief head­quar­ters. Two of the dead were lo­cals and the sta­tus of nine was not yet known.

A French man, Max­ence Val­lon, 18, a Cana­dian woman and an­other uniden­ti­fied for­eigner were among the in­jured, ac­cord­ing to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

The pro­vin­cial health and fam­ily plan­ning com­mis­sion put to­gether a team to trans­fer the se­ri­ously in­jured and pro­vided ba­sic med­i­cal treat­ment and psy­cho­log­i­cal as­sis­tance in places where tourists and res­i­dents have taken shel­ter.

Most of the in­jured were be­ing treated at the county hos­pi­tal, while some of the se­ri­ously wounded were trans­ferred to hos­pi­tals in the cities of Mianyang and the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal of Chengdu, ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion.

“Mi­nor or mod­er­ate in­juries make up the ma­jor­ity,” said Zeng Jun, a doc­tor with the Sichuan Pro­vin­cial Peo­ple’s Hos­pi­tal who helped in the res­cue.

Val­lon had in­juries to both legs, while the Cana­dian woman, who de­clined to be named, suf­fered a slight head in­jury. Both are be­ing treated at Ji­uzhaigou county’s pub­lic hos­pi­tal.

Doc­tors said stone frag­ments were em­bed­ded in Val­lon’s right leg and he needed

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