China / Society

Swift action urged after Yunnan quake

By Zhao Yinan and Guo Anfei in Longtoushan township, Yunnan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-05 08:15

Swift action urged after Yunnan quake

Premier Li Keqiang helps make way for rescuers carrying victims on Monday while inspecting the township of Longtoushan, epicenter of Sunday's earthquake in Yunnan province. Yao Dawei / Xinhua

Related: Premier Li visits Yunnan quake site 

Search: Make full use of 72-hour 'golden period' for rescue efforts, premier tells workers at scene

Key Points

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake rattled southwest China's Yunnan province at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

The epicenter is in Longtoushan Township, 23 km southwest of the county seat of Ludian, in Zhaotong city.

More than 12,000 houses have been toppled and 30,000 damaged in the quake zone.

At least 398 people dead and 1,801 injured

Many of the homes that collapsed in Ludian, which has a population of about 429,000, were old and made of brick.

Latest report 
Photos: 1.08 million affected; Rescuers 

Rescue: Relief materials pour in but power shortage and heavy traffic remain tough challenge

Top leaders have told rescuers to race against time to save lives and do their best to resettle survivors following the earthquake in Yunnan province as the death toll from Sunday's disaster rose to nearly 400.

President Xi Jinping said on Sunday that saving lives is the top priority. He also called for the aftermath of the tragedy to be monitored.

Premier Li Keqiang walked for 5 km on muddy roads in Ludian county on Monday before arriving in Longquan, a village in Longtoushan township and the epicenter of the quake.

He stood in silent tribute to the victims, guided rescue efforts and comforted residents.

Sunday's magnitude-6.5 quake, which struck at 4:30 pm, killed at least 398 people and injured more than 1,900 others.

Heavy overnight rain made the mountainous county more difficult to reach, and Li slipped while walking along a muddy road.

On the flight to the disaster area on Monday morning, he said it was the most serious quake in the region in recent years.

Swift action urged after Yunnan quake
Saved by seconds 
The premier stressed that rescue efforts must progress in a scientific manner and urged rescuers to make full use of the "golden period" - the 72 hours since the quake took place - in their search efforts.

"With each life saved, there will be one more happy family," Li told soldiers in the township.

He told provincial authorities to keep access to the epicenter clear for rescue teams.

Shen Taikuan, a villager in Longtoushan, said, "My son was only found at midnight, but thank goodness he was not seriously injured." Shen carried his son on his back while talking to Li.

The premier asked Shen, as well as other injured people, to go to clinics and hospitals for checkups.

Liu Qiwei, an official at the county hospital, said it had treated at least 269 people, 10 of whom were seriously injured.

"Nearly 350 medical workers and 113 ambulances have been devoted to the rescue and additional beds have been provided," Liu said.

He added that supplies of relief materials and medicine to the disaster area must be speeded up to avoid the risk of disease posed by bodies lying in the debris. Liu also said that the safety of drinking water should be guaranteed.

Ma Wenxu, a Longtoushan resident, said the tiles on his house began to fall as the quake struck and he was afraid to stay at home.

"I slept in a car with my father. Ambulances' sirens were sounding throughout the night," Ma said.

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