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China Not to Give up Search for Quake Survivors, Says Premier in Quake-hit Zone

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged not to give up while there is hope after flying to Yushu from Beijing Thursday afternoon, a day after a major earthquake hit the highland area.

After landing in Yushu in northwestern Qinghai Province, which has an average altitude of 3,700 meters, Wen rushed to a village near Jiegu Township, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, where most of the houses in the village collapsed.

He scrambled over cement rubble to check on the rescue work and expressed his appreciation to the rescuers working hard in search for survivors.

The 7.1-magnitude earthquake killed 760 people and injured more than 10,000, with 243 still missing.

At a collapsed building in Jiegu Township, the Premier met a group of locals worrying about their missing relatives.

"The central government shares your pain. Your loss is our loss. We mourn together," Wen told them.

The top priority is saving lives, he said, adding that the government has dispatched rescuers with more to come.

"Even when there is only the slightest hope, we will do our best, and we will never give up," he said.

About 7,500 rescuers working in Jiegu Township have saved about 6,900 people. Another 2,500 rescuers are on their way.

Wen later visited a school, orphanage and hospital in the town.

At the hospital, Wen met a distraught Tibetan woman in her forties, Drolma Tsering, who had lost three family members in the earthquake while another three are in hospital in Xining, Qinghai's provincial capital.

"I can assure you your relatives in hospital will be well treated. Once they are better, you can visit them in Xining," Wen told the woman.

At a meeting with local officials, the Premier demanded they act fast in treating the injured and transport the seriously injured to better hospitals in neighboring cities as soon as possible.

Wen promised to provide sufficient necessities - clothes, food and drinking water - and to quickly restore infrastructure, especially power supplies.

The earthquake department must do their best to forecast aftershocks and the government must give subsidies to the affected people, he said.

The government will start planning rehabilitation as early as possible and try to maintain law and order in the quake zone, he added.

(Xinhua News Agency April 16, 2010)


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