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More measures called to fight flooding
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Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu stressed on Monday that south China was at a critical moment in the fight against flood and local authorities should continue to take effective measures in order to minimize the loss of life and wealth.

Hui, also the commander-in-chief for the nation's headquarters for fight against flooding and drought, told an urgently-called meeting that all related departments and local authorities in southern China should fully realize the utmost importance of successfully fighting flooding this year.

Hui called for measures such as mobilizing more people and resources, preventing and fighting flooding in a scientific approach, conducting surveillance and ensuring early warning of heavy rain and possible flooding.

The meeting also stressed the necessity to evacuate and relocate people threatened by flooding, check the safety of major river banks, and to prevent secondary disasters in major water projects.

Since June 7, 12 provinces and regions in southern China was swept by continuously heavy rain, with some areas weathering the heaviest rainfall in 100 years. Some cities and regions were faced with threats of serious flooding.

Hui praised local governments in southern China for their performances in fighting flooding. Governments at all levels in southern China had stuck to the policy of putting people's lives first and had been able to launch emergency response in a timely manner, he said.

However he warned local officials to keep cool and continue maintaining high alert as water levels in some rivers in South China were continuing to rise.

"We should not underestimate the seriousness of ongoing flood situation and disaster, neither should we underestimate the difficulties in preventing and fighting flooding," he said.

In the past few days, freak rain had lashed eastern and southern China and caused deaths and massive evacuations.

Six people died and four were missing after rainstorms devastated part of southern Guangdong Province and triggered the biggest river flood in nearly half a century, officials said on Saturday.

From 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, 103 monitoring sites across the province reported precipitation of more than 100 mm, with the heaviest -- 269 mm -- in Duanfen Town, Jiangmen City, the Guangdong Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said.

On Friday, the Guangdong provincial flood control headquarters raised the flood emergency response level from Grade IV to III, highlighting the urgency of prevention efforts.

In neighboring Fujian Province, rains totaling more than 200 mm from 8 a.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday ravaged 12 counties in eastern Fujian, with a maximum of 451 mm falling in Yunxiao County. Nearly 10,000 people in the worst-affected areas were evacuated, but no casualties have been reported in Fujian.

In neighboring Jiangxi, some 84,000 residents were evacuated and 12,000 trapped by floodwaters were rescued, according to the provincial flood control headquarters.

In Liuzhou City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, more than 50,000 residents were displaced after rainstorms moved into the area Thursday.

Wuzhou City in Guangxi activated a flood emergency response plan at noon on Saturday to prepare for flood crests in rivers upstream. A flood crest on the Guijiang River is forecast to reach Wuzhou City late Saturday.

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2008)

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