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Rescuers save quake-trapped Tibetans after trekking 33 hours
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-05-20 16:54
"Our beloved People's Liberation Army has saved us Tibetan people. Zhaxideli (Tibetan way of saying "best wishes for") to the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army!" said Dede Zhuodan, whose eyes were moist with tears when she woke up at 10 a.m. Monday, holding the hands of Yang Wenyao, commander of a motorized infantry brigade.

Located at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters above the sea level, Sier Village of Tibetans in Pingwu County, Sichuan Province, is one of the highest and remotest areas with the worst road conditions. All the houses of Tibetan villagers there were flattened by the earthquake that struck Southwest China's Sichuan Province on May 12.

More than 300 Tibetans had been stranded in the mountainous region for five days, without food, water or medicines. On the brink of death, ten-odd villagers who had been severely injured in the quake were in urgent need of timely treatment.

But the terrain was very difficult for helicopters to land on. The motorized infantry brigade from the Jinan Military Area Command was assigned the rescue task at 8 a.m. May 17. Led by the Brigade Commander Yang Wenyao, 80 rescuers traveled on foot toward the Tibetan village, each carrying a 40-kg load of medicine and food.

The rescuers encountered ten landslides and mudslides on their way to the village. They surmounted natural barriers such as high mountains and deep valleys and traveled across unpopulated areas. With great courage, selflessness and ardent feelings for the Tibetan villagers, they walked 120 km for 33 straight hours before reaching Sier at 4:30 p.m. on May 18, 22 hours ahead of schedule. As a result, they were able to win the precious time for rescuing the Tibetans there.

Blood from broken blisters on the soldiers' feet soaked through their socks. On the hands and arms of many soldiers were 10-cm-long bruises cut by tree branches. In total disregard of the pains, the soldiers immediately went into the rescue effort after briefly binding up their wounds.

They organized the uninjured Tibetans to evacuate from the mountainous area. Some of them carried 12 seniors of 80 years old and 15 kids under 5 on their backs, and others carried the severely injured on stretches. They trekked on steep mountain paths. Along the way some collapsed as a result of fatigue, but they stood on their feet again and walked on. After 3 hours of struggle, they finally moved 16 severely injured villagers and 312 Tibetans to a safe place. They also helped the Tibetans set up tents and gave first-aid treatment to those in critical condition, thus saving their lives.

Holding the hands of the officers and soldiers, many villagers said with great emotion: "Thank the Communist Party of China! Long live the People's Liberation Army!"

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