China's Hu tells rescuers to keep searching

Afp April 18, 2010

JIEGU: Chinese President Hu Jintao called on rescuers on Sunday to keep searching for survivors as he met victims of a powerful quake in the country's northwest that left more than 1,700 dead.

The Chinese leader, who cut short a trip to Latin America to oversee the emergency response, visited the region four days after it was hit by a 6.9-magnitude quake that killed 1,706 people and left 256 people missing.

His comments came as search teams were boosted by the rescue of a 68-year-old man trapped beneath rubble for more than 100 hours, state media reported. The official Xinhua news agency said he appeared to be in a stable condition and was receiving medical care.

"Rescuing those people who are trapped is still the main task. We must treasure each life," Hu said in Datong Village, where he met survivors, state media reported. Hu said the provision of essential items such as food, drinking water,shelter, quilts and warm clothing was a priority.

Supplies have been in short supply in the isolated area.

Setting up temporary schools was also a key task, he added.More than 100 students and 12 teachers died as schools and dormitories collapsed -- and dozens more are missing -- state media reported, recalling the 2008 quake in neighbouring Sichuan when thousands of students died.


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