Chinese Premier Li Keqiang took control of rescue operations in quake-stricken Ludian prefecture in Yunnan province after arriving in the devastated area by foot, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.
Li told rescuers to do their best to save lives within the 72-hour “golden period” following Sunday’s disaster which killed at least 398 people.
Accompanied by Vice Premier Wang Yang, Li arrived in the village after a one-hour hike over some impassable terrain. He ordered an air drop of basic supplies, if necessary.
More than 1,800 were injured in the quake which measured 6.5 on the Richter scale but the devastation is comparable to that from a much bigger catastrophe, the report said.
Experts said most houses in the village were made of bricks and their construction could not withstand an earthquake.
Meanwhile, the official Xinhua news agency said Niulan River, a tributary of the Jinsha River which is home to the largest concentration of hydraulic power stations in the country, has been blocked by mud from the earthquake.
An artificial lake has formed close to the quake-hit area and is threatening neighboring villages with flooding. Also, 19 dams were damaged, affecting water supply, the report said.
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