The Chengdu Military Area Command has dispatched six helicopters and deployed more than 4,000 servicemen and paramilitary reserve forces to the quake zone, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

President Xi Jinping has called for saving people's lives first after a strong earthquake rattled southwest China's Yunnan Province Sunday and killed at least 175 people.

In his instructions, Xi ordered that authorities concerned give top priority to saving people's lives, minimize casualties and guarantee a proper settlement for quake victims.

He called for all-out efforts in relief operation and strengthening aftershock monitoring to prevent secondary disasters.

The Air Force also sent two cargo planes from Beijing and Chengdu to transport relief personnel and materials to the quake zone this morning.

A relief team composed of 100 servicemen from the Beijing Military Area Command left for the quake zone this morning, according to the PLA General Staff Headquarters.

In addition, the firefighting authority in Yunnan had dispatched 937 firefighters and 141 fire trucks with 17 search dogs to the quake area as of 11 am this morning, according to the firefighting bureau under the Ministry of Public Security.

The massive quake left a trail of destruction with more than 12,000 houses toppled and 30,000 damaged. The epicenter was at Longtoushan Township, 23 km southwest of the county seat of Ludian.

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