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Fatal Mine Flooding Is 'Natural Disaster'
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Preliminary analysis of experts showed the coal mine flooding which has trapped 181 miners at two pits in east China's Shandong Province since Friday is a natural disaster, Minister of Civil Affairs Li Xueju said at a press conference on Wednesday.


"China currently has no compensation system for people killed and injured in natural disasters," Li said.


But the coal mine flooding occurred at Huayuan Mining Co. Ltd. in the city of Xintai, and later at Minggong Mine was a case different from other natural disasters, because it took place in the course of production, he said.


The government and enterprises will provide compensation to the families of the coal mine flooding victims, he added.


Li revealed that the Ministry of Civil Affairs is considering to build a compensation system for the victims of natural disasters and is negotiating details with relevant departments.


Rescue workers are still working against time to search for the 181 miners trapped at two collieries in east China's Shandong Province since Friday, despite dimming hopes of their survival five days after a swollen river flooded the pits.


Families Mourn as Hope Fades for 181 Trapped Miners


Nie Tingbo's small home is crowded with a dozen anguished relatives. No one has touched the bowls of rice and fried vegetables that a neighbor brought over.

Everyone is waiting anxiously for news of the 37-year-old colliery gas detector, who has been trapped with the 180 mine workers for almost 100 hours since Friday when two pits flooded in eastern Shandong Province.

Nie's wife, Zhang Rongxia, sits motionless on the edge of her bed, tears streaming down her cheeks. "He left home before midday to take the afternoon shift on Friday," she says. "It had been raining for days and the two bridges over the river close to our home were underwater."

Zhang had tried to talk her husband out of going to work. "He always took his job so seriously that he just refused to listen," she said.


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