Chinese President Hu Jintao on Sunday asked rescuers to use "every available means" to reach every village affected by the May 12 earthquake in southwest China.
"We must try every method to send rescuers to every quake-hit village, instead of just working in towns and cities, since a large number of soldiers have entered the quake-hit regions," said Hu, while visiting Yinghua township of Shifang City, Sichuan Province.
More than 32,000 people have been confirmed dead in the 8.0-magnitude earthquake hitting northwest Sichuan.
"We must send rescue teams, carrying food and drinking water, to the worst-hit villages, even on foot, as soon as possible," Hu said, travelling on bumpy roads to visit one quake-hit villages to another, comforting victims and ecouraging resuers..
He was surrounded by wailing women when he visited a temporary shelter camp at Yinghua.
"I know you lost family and property. I share the pain with you," he said. "We will try every effort to save your people once there is the slightest hope and possibility."
Hu also hugged an 8-year-old boy when visiting a family in the camp and told him, "You must learn to be brave and not to surrender to difficulties even if you are a child. We shall have confidence, courage and strength."
Walking over the rubble of a fertilizer factory building, Hu told the rescuers working at the site that every trapped person was counting on them and they should seize every second to work as time was limited.
"I truly believe that the heroic Chinese people will not yield to any difficulty!" he shouted in front of a group of rescuers.
(Xinhua News Agency May 19, 2008)