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Vice Premier Stresses Importance of Typhoon Rescue-Relief Work
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Given a mandate by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on Sunday urged local governments to make every effort to protect people's lives and minimize any further losses caused by Typhoon Saomai.

Typhoon Saomai, the strongest to hit China in half a century and now a tropical depression, has left at least 114 dead and 183 others missing by Sunday.

During his tour to east China's Zhejiang and Fujian provinces on Saturday and Sunday, Hui inspected the rescue work and visited people who were traumatized by the disaster.

Safety of the people had to be the priority, said Hui, and the aim of rescue operations must be to reduce the loss of life to the minimum. The way of life for people had to be restored as much as possible, he added.

On the visit to Cangnan County of Zhejiang and Fuding City of Fujian, the worst-hit locations, Hui told villagers that the Party and government would assist them re-build their lives. He praised Party officials in Xi'ao Village of Fuding on hearing that no one had died during the evacuation.

Hui also visited PLA soldiers, armed police, public security forces and militia who"ve been assisting in the aftermath of the typhoon. Speaking with provincial officials, Hui said the search for those missing must continue and condolences offered to the families of victims should be given in an appropriate way. 

"Clean drinking water, enough clothes, accommodation, medical services and schooling must be available to the people who are affected by the typhoon," he said. Restoration of water and power supplies, transportation and communication must be completed as quickly as possible while those people helping themselves must be supported by the government, he added.

Hui also stressed the need for epidemic controls and called for everyone to assist in the reconstruction work. 

He warned that the situation remained severe as it was still the flood season and therefore the leadership must keep alert and be well prepared for any further weather related difficulties.

(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2006)

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