BEIJING, China — Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered all-out rescue efforts to minimize casualties after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake jolted southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Monday, stressing that saving lives should be taken as the primary task.

President Xi Jinping (Xinhua)

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, issued the instruction after the quake hit Luding County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, at 12:52 p.m. Monday.

The earthquake has left at least 46 people dead and scores injured, causing damage to infrastructure facilities, such as the water and electricity supply, transportation and telecommunications.

Xi stressed strengthening quake monitoring, guarding against secondary disasters, and properly accommodating those affected.

While calling for utmost efforts to ensure the safety of people’s lives and property, Xi asked the Ministry of Emergency Management and other departments to send teams to Sichuan to guide the relief work and ordered the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Armed Police Force to actively assist local disaster relief efforts.

Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, urged swift evaluation of the situation, as well as all-out rescue and medical treatment efforts.

He also urged locals to stay alert for secondary disasters such as landslides, in the meantime calling for efforts to accommodate those from quake-hit areas and fix damaged transportation and telecommunication infrastructure as quickly as possible.

In accordance with Xi and Li’s instructions, departments, including the Ministry of Emergency Management, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the National Health Commission have all dispatched teams to quake-hit areas to provide direction on disaster relief.

Authorities of Sichuan Province and Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture have organized personnel to carry out disaster relief missions and sent tents, quilts, cots and other resources to quake-hit areas.