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Li in plea to quake rescuers

By CHEN XIN and SHAN JUAN | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-25 01:54

Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday urged rescuers to spare no efforts to continue searching for victims trapped in the debris in quake-hit areas in Sichuan.

At an executive meeting of the State Council, China's cabinet, Li proposed a moment of silence to mourn the victims of the Lushan earthquake and people who lost their lives in disaster relief operations.

Li in plea to quake rescuers"Although the first 72 hours, the peak time for saving lives, has passed, we should not give up searching for trapped victims. We should check every spot," he said.

Sufficient medical workers and supplies — including blood plasma and medicines — should be arranged to ensure that injured people receive timely treatment, he said.

Other supplies such as tents, blankets, clothes and makeshift shelters, which are in urgent need, should be quickly in place, he said, adding that the subsidy budgeted by the central government should be granted to affected people who have no place to live or who have no income source, and people without the ability to cope with the disaster.

"We should ensure that affected people have access to safe living places, food and clean water," said Li, "We should also highlight health and epidemic prevention as an important task of relief work."

Li also called for enough disinfectant materials and medicines to be supplied and for key areas to be disinfected to make sure that there are no disease epidemics following the quake.

Strengthened weather-monitoring, early-warning and emergency-response systems should also be implemented to cope with secondary disasters, such as landslides, to prevent new casualties, the executive meeting was told.

Infrastructure including power, telecommunications and water should also be restored as soon as possible.

Medical institutions and schools should return to normal operations as soon as possible, and production and life should be brought back to normal in the disaster-affected areas.

Loss-evaluation assessments of the disaster and a reconstruction plan should also be conducted in a timely manner, the meeting was told.

Race against time

Meanwhile, medical workers are racing against time to treat the injured.

As of Tuesday, China's National Health and Family Planning Commission had dispatched 12,080 medical workers for clinical treatment and disease prevention and control tasks to the quake-hit areas in Sichuan province.

Latest data from the commission show that 5,933 operations had been performed so far and that 1,468 patients are still hospitalized.

In a piece of good news, the number of severely injured patients dropped to 189 from 265 on Sunday.

According to Wang Xiaofeng, an official with the commission's information office, most of the seriously injured patients have been sent to the provincial capital Chengdu for further treatment.

A medical expert team is stationed in Chengdu to help with the clinical management operations, he said.

Li Bin, the commission's director, said at a meeting on Tuesday that all the severely injured patients will be transferred to medical institutions with better conditions.

"The best doctors will be dispatched to help ensure fewer disabilities and deaths stemming from the disaster," she said.

Meanwhile, disease prevention and control efforts, such as emergency vaccination programs, strengthened epidemic and water and food safety surveillance campaigns, as well as setting up a routine disease-reporting system in the affected areas — particularly in the temporary shelters built for the victims — will be launched.

Also, to better meet regular medical needs in quake-hit areas, Li Bin said makeshift medical and family planning stations will soon be set up to help improve access to services.

Notably, she also highlighted mental health intervention for affected people as a priority.

Physical and mental health services will be delivered together to the quake-hit areas, she pledged.

At the same time, the executive meeting decided to call off or decentralize 71 administrative examination and approval procedures to lower-level governments, as a move to achieve the State Council's institutional reform goals and adjustment of government functions. These procedures are mainly investment- and production-related.

Related readings:

Live report: 7.0-magnitude quake hits Sichuan

Premier thanks nations for aid

Quake-hit region faces new threats

Expert calls for rational volunteering, donations

Condolences continue to flow in after earthquake

Life resumes in 'isolated island'

99% houses damaged by quake in township

Military helicopter delivers relief supplies

Police step up patrols in quake areas

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