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Swift response to disaster

China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-22 07:25

We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the Lushan earthquake, and we offer our condolences to those who have lost loved ones in the disaster.

We also offer grateful thanks to all the rescue workers who have been braving the frequent aftershocks to search for survivors, and we hope those who are still buried in the rubble waiting to be rescued will be quickly found.

The same earthquake fault zone has produced two strong quakes in five years, as the latest quake, which is a preliminary magnitude 7.0, occurred less than a month before the fifth anniversary of the devastating 8.0-magnitude Wenchuan earthquake on May 12.

Fortunately the lessons from the earlier quake have been learned, and the Chinese government and various departments responded quickly to Saturday's earthquake. Relief personnel and supplies were quickly mobilized and rushed to the disaster area, and President Xi Jinping ordered all-out rescue efforts and aid for the injured.

Just hours after the quake hit, Premier Li Keqiang arrived to oversee rescue operations and coordinate emergency relief crews. He also stressed the need for the timely disclosure of information to facilitate relief work and avoid panic.

Conditions are harsh in the disaster zone, communication and transport links are down and there is untimely rain and incessant aftershocks that are adding to the difficulties facing rescuers and survivors, but now that the nation is mobilized we know all that can be done is being done to help those in need.

The first 72 hours offer the best chance of survival after a quake and we know rescuers will be working to the limits of their endurance to save as many lives as they can. Meanwhile, seismic monitoring needs to be strengthened so that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent secondary disasters claiming more victims.

Compared with five years ago, the nation has clearly been better prepared this time. Its response has been quicker, the rescue work better organized and social participation wider. Apart from government and military organized rescue teams, it is heartening to see volunteers, including survivors of the Wenchuan earthquake, rushing to the area to help.

But great efforts will still be needed to help the injured and ensure there is food and shelter for everyone in the affected areas.

(China Daily 04/22/2013 page8)

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