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Vice-Premier Urges Greater Effort

Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao urged the ministries of water resources, agriculture, health and finance to provide money and anti-flood materials immediately to help the flood-ravaged Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The South China region is the area hit worst by two recent, destructive typhoons.

Wen called on local authorities to watch fluctuating water levels on their swollen rivers. "No negligence can be allowed during the next two days," he declared.

Floodwaters were receding in parts of local rivers Tuesday, but deep water will continue to soak the levees, experts said.

The State Flood Control and Drought Prevention Headquarters sent more than 1 million plastic sacks, 50 crash boats and 300,000 life vests to Guangxi from three of its warehouses in Nanchang in East China's Jiangxi Province, Hankou in Central China's Hubei Province and Yueyang in Hunan Province, sources with the Ministry of Water Resources said.

The ministries of agriculture and finance have jointly decided to allocate special disaster-relief funds and seeds to the flood-stricken area to help farmers resume production.

By early Tuesday, water levels started receding on the Yongjiang River along Nanning after a crest at which the waterway flowed at a record 11,100 cubic metres per second, according to the latest reports Tuesday.

Such high water levels are expected to linger for days, during which emergencies are likely to occur, experts warned. Among the possible crises, unseen holes beneath levees of rivers may collapse dykes.

Downstream from Nanning, the river crested Tuesday in Guigang and Wuzhou at more than 5 metres above their alarm lines.

To ease the pressure downstream, authorities were reducing 1,500 cubic metres of the water per second being discharged from the Xijin Reservoir upstream of Guigang and Wuzhou.

Rainstorms caused by typhoons Durian and Utor dumped excessive amounts of precipitation across the South China last week.

Ten people have died in the storms and aftermath in Guangxi as of July 8. Forty-eight counties and cities were affected, causing an estimated 16 billion yuan (US$1.9 billion) in direct economic losses.

Nanning residents have proceeded with life as usual amid the crisis thanks to the hard work of thousands of residents and servicemen who are handling the problems.

(China Daily 07/11/2001)

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