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China Initiates Disaster Relief Emergency Plan for Sichuan Quake

The State Disaster Relief Commission has initiated a "Level II emergency contingency plan" to cope with Monday's strong earthquake in southwest China.

According to China's regulations, natural disasters in the country are classified into four categories based on their severity.

The Level II emergency contingency plan covers the second most serious class of natural disasters.

Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Chengdu Monday afternoon by plane and was on the way to the quake-hit county of Wenchuan by press time, 100 kilometers away from the capital city of Sichuan, to direct the rescue work.

A team of experts from the State Disaster Relief Commission and the Civil Affairs Ministry will also go to the disaster areas for relief work.

The Civil Affairs Ministry has allocated 5,000 tents to quake-hit areas in Sichuan.

A quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale jolted Wenchuan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 2:28 PM on Monday, resulting in at 107 deaths reported so far.

Tremors were also reported in Ningxia, Qinghai, Gansu, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Yunnan, Hunan, Hubei, and Jiangsu provinces, the the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, and the Tibet Autonomous Region, the State Seismological Bureau said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2008)

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