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Nation works to restore post-quake order

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-22 19:24

BEIJING - Chinese authorities are working to restore social order and infrastructure in Ya'an of Southwest China's Sichuan province, badly hit by a strong earthquake on Saturday.

Firefighters started a fire prevention and control campaign at the settlement sites in the quake-hit areas on Monday, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Firefighting units are coordinating with local authorities to gain a full understanding of the situation in the sites.

The fire department will deploy a portion of its staff to conduct fire prevention patrols at victims' settlement sites, set up firefighting service points and organize volunteers to join the campaign.

Police at the quake zone have also been asked to control traffic and maintain transport order so as to streamline the rescue and relief work.

Vice Minister of Public Security Huang Ming, who arrived in the quake-hit area on Sunday, ordered the police to ensure the safety of roads leading to and from the affected area and strengthen traffic diversion programs throughout the area.

Huang also urged police to strengthen security checkpoints and coordinate with armed police forces.

In order to leave a clear path for quake relief personnel and materials, he told police to instruct people to avoid traveling to affected areas by car.

Heavy traffic jams have been reported on roads leading to Lushan County, the quake epicenter, since Sunday.

He Zongzhi, head of the Sichuan provincial traffic police force, told Xinhua that traffic in Lushan has far exceeded the capacity of its roads.

Heavy-duty vehicles and civilian cars have packed county roads and might hinder the efficiency of rescue and relief, warned He, who has taken charge of traffic control in Lushan.

In a previous development, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang visited the affected city zone, neighboring townships, villages and broken roads in Lushan, extending the central government's sympathy and solicitude for quake victims and regards for rescue workers.

Wang convened a meeting with local grassroots officials, farmers, soldiers and volunteers late on Sunday night, urging them to check every village and house for trapped people and grasp the "golden time" of 72 hours after the quake to save as many people as possible.

Wang called for strengthened monitoring of aftershocks and secondary disasters to prevent new casualties, speedier deliveries of disaster relief materials, resumed transportation, communication and power, as well as for an integrated mechanism to be established to coordinate all rescue and relief efforts and listen to feedback from front-line rescue and relief personnel.

A team of architecture and seismology experts started to evaluate the safety of public buildings in the region on Sunday.

On Monday, they examined school buildings in the city of Ya'an and Lushan County.

Most school buildings in Ya'an are in good condition to reopen for classes, according to a statement from the China Earthquake Administration.

"The experts are still examining the conditions of school buildings in Lushan," the statement said.

According to the county government, classrooms in the county's 38 schools were damaged to various degrees and need to be repaired.

The county plans to move 410 students in the 12th grade of a local high school to Chengdu, the provincial capital, so that they can resume classes and prepare for the upcoming college entry exam.

Also, radio and TV services are available at quake-hit areas with power supplies while technicians are busy repairing damaged facilities in the badly hit areas, according to the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Radio and TV services resumed in Lushan on Monday morning.

Local radio and TV authorities also set up satellite receivers at the rescue headquarters and settlement sites.

The death toll has risen to at least 188, with more than 11,000 others injured, in the quake that jolted Lushan County of Sichuan's Ya'an City at 8:02 a.m. Beijing time on Saturday. More than 1.5 million people have been affected by the disaster.

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