Chinese Government Moved Quickly After Disaster

The government’s quick response to the catastrophe reflects the leadership of China is able to deliver efficient disaster relief.

When an 8.0-magnitude deadly earthquake struck Southwest China Monday afternoon, the government quickly signaled a message of concern and action, as President Hu Jintao called for an "all-out" effort to aid survivors. Just two hours after the quake, Premier Wen Jiabao flew to Sichuan to oversee rescue efforts.

Within 24 hours of the quake, some 20,000 troops converged on the disaster area to help dig out survivors as military planes and trucks ferried in another 30,000 reinforcements.

However, the geographical condition in mountainous Sichuan Province is unfavorable for rescue. It is much more difficult for rescue than that in Tangshan earthquake in 1976, where it happened was a plain area and the earthquake-hit districts were relatively centralized in the city. An old saying gives an exaggeration, "Climbing the mountains in Sichuan is as difficult as reaching the blue sky".

Facing the challenge of high mountains, blocked roads and heavy rainfall, the General Staff of the PLA headquarters ordered some 600 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops to enter the epicenter Wenchuan County on foot late Tuesday in a bid to intensify rescue efforts. The rescuers managed to hike into the worst hit area early Wednesday morning and pulled more than 1,000 survivors from debris.

After the 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan, people from all walks of life have mobilized, and the volunteers are at the front line.

Some volunteers rummaged through the debris to retrieve packaged or canned foods for the hungry, some counseled the victims and their families, and others helped carry the injured and bodies. Five days have passed. But they still never say giving up. "If only there is the slightest hope, we will spare no effort; if only there is one survivor in the debris, we will not give up."——Premier Wen Jiabao


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