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China Makes Unremitting Efforts in Disaster Relief

China's Ministry of Civil Affairs Saturday urged all localities to make unremitting efforts in disaster relief and give top priority to ensuring the safety of people's lives.


Since mid-June, floods and flood-induced landslides and mudslides have left 124 people dead, 69 missing and displaced 1.52 million people in south and east China by 4:00 PM Friday.


In an urgent circular, the ministry spelled out a series of measures to be taken by various localities in the disaster relief work:


-- Initiate all systems in the program to cope with emergencies once disasters occur, including transfer, relocation, supply of materials, guarantee of lives and medical treatment operations.


-- Closely monitor the conditions of disasters and transfer people out of dangerous areas timely. Keep close contact with relevant departments.


-- Ensure there are people on duty round the clock to report and transmit information on disaster and disaster relief situation as soon as possible. There should also be people on duty 24 hours a day at the central disaster relief materials storage depot.


If delaying, covering up, and inaccuracy in the reporting system caused major impact or serious consequences, relevant personnel will be penalized.


-- Speed up the storage of disaster relief materials and goods and ensure the transport routes go unobstructed.


-- Personally enter disaster areas to learn the needs of those areas and concretely guarantee the basic living conditions of the victimized people.


For people newly affected by the disasters, rescue and aid measures should be made available to them in 24 hours. Concrete measures should be taken to ensure the victims have access to food, clean drinking water, clothes, dwelling places and medical service.


Meanwhile, efforts should be made to organize the masses of people to start reconstruction work.


-- Vigorously publicize knowledge on disaster prevention and alleviation, including knowledge on shunning risks and self-protection.


-- Strengthen leadership to enhance organizational and coordination levels and adopt the responsibility system at various levels to ensure disaster relief work is carried out in an orderly way.


Floods subside, relief underway in China


Water levels which once surpassed warning lines in major rivers in south and east China saw continuous drop with reduction of rainfalls in these areas, said the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters Saturday.


Water in most sections of the Xijiang River, which runs through southern Guangdong Province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, dropped below the warning line Saturday, the office said.


And all the reaches of the Minjiang River, a major river in eastern Fujian Province, and its tributaries, saw the water level below the warning line.


Flood control work, however, is still tough in these areas, said E Jingping, general secretary of the office and vice-minister of Water Resources.


Weather forecast said moderate to heavy rainfall is expected to sweep Guangxi in the coming two days and might pose new challenge for flood control in Xijiang.


The forecast also said the country's north, in addition to its south, southwest, east and central areas, is expected to see rainstorms in the coming day.


E said the floods caused severe losses to the country, and relief work and reconstruction have begun in the areas where floods began to subside.


The Ministry of Civil Affairs said Friday that so far this year, floods and ensuing calamities caused 567 people dead, 165 missing and the emergency relocation of 2.46 million people in the country, resulting in direct economic losses of 22.9 billion yuan (about US$2.77 billion).


Earlier this week, President Hu Jintao, also General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), urged governments at all levels to be conscientious in their service to the people and in the flood-control fight.


Premier Wen Jiabao, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said duty in flood control work must be defined clearly among governmental departments and local officials.


Wen also said big rivers and major reservoirs should be under intensive monitoring, and the safety of major cities and roads should be taken as a priority.


In Guangdong, more than 1.33 million people are mobilized to fight against floods, and the provincial government had allocated 15.05 million yuan (US$1.82 million) for relief.


Also, quarantine has started. In Guangxi, more than 300 medical teams and epidemic prevention teams were dispatched to flood-hit areas, and 20 tons of disinfectant and pesticide were provided to people there.   


(Xinhua News Agency June 26, 2005)

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