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Chinese military conduct epidemic prevention work in mudslide-hit Zhouqu

BEIJING, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese military forces are rushing to prevent disease in mudslide-devastated Zhouqu County in northwest China's Gansu Province as high temperatures hit the area where at least 1,156 people were dead.

While giving medical treatment to 12,000 local residents, soldiers have also sterilized an area of 128,000 square meters in the disaster-hit county, Wang Wenjie, a senior officer with the Lanzhou Military Area Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), said Friday.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health warned of disease-prevention challenges in Zhouqu, as dead bodies and dead animals entombed in the mud may easily decay in the hot weather.

Although wells have been dug up to ensure water supply, the ministry said sterilization work is difficult as the water may be contaminated during transportation and storage.

In order to ensure rescuers' health, more disinfectant and anti-sunstroke medicine has been dispatched to Zhouqu along with fresh clothing.

While more equipment is en route to Zhouqu, Wang said more epidemic prevention workers are ready to go to Zhouqu if needed.

Tuo Chengxiang, a senior officer with the Chinese People's Armed Police Force, said the main roads into the township are covered in sludge, hampering vehicular access to the area.

A total of 6,281 soldiers and armed policemen are participating in the rescue and relief work in Zhouqu. They have saved 45 lives and delivered 808 tonnes of relief supplies.

Besides personnel, 17 helicopters and aeroplanes and 35 rubber rafts have been mobilized to the disaster-hit area.

Also on Friday, the PLA General Political Department issued a circular ordering soldiers and policemen in Zhouqu to lead the rescue and relief work while giving top priority to saving people's lives.

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