Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao asked the nation to be prepared for a further worsening of the flood situation as the country enters the main flood season.
Wen, accompanied by Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, flew to seriously flooded Fuyang of Anhui Province in east China early Saturday morning to inspect disaster-relief work.
Over the past two weeks, the whole valley of China's Huaihe River has been hit by the most serious floods since 1954, with heavy losses to life and property.
Wen first visited Yingxian Township of Linquan County, where 155 villages were besieged by floods due to especially heavy rainstorms a few days ago. The township set up 21 temporary shelters for the villagers. At a shelter in Yingnan Village, Wen talked with villagers in a tent, asking them about their health care, food and water supplies.
He asked local officials to focus on three things: one is to ensure the safety of drinking water by checking water quality; the second is the prevention and cure of diseases, especially endemic and infectious diseases; and the third is house repairs. Flooded houses must undergo a safety check before villagers return to occupy them.
In the afternoon he went to Wangjiaba, the site of a key hydrological station first built in 1953 and renovated in 2003. Local officials told Wen that on July 10, Wangjiaba opened its sluices to divert the floods and 180,000 mu (about 12,000 hectares) of farmland in the Mengwa flood buffer zone was submerged, with all villagers safe. Now nearly 160,000 villagers have moved to highland villages or temporary shelters.
Wen praised the local people for their devotion to flood fighting, saying that the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters had made the correct decision to divert the floods, and Anhui Province had contributed to the safety of the upper and lower reaches of the Huaihe River.
In the Mengwa flood buffer zone, Wen inspected submerged crops and talked with villagers. He expressed thanks to the villagers for their contribution and promised that the government will compensate villagers in the buffer zone for their losses.
After a 10-hour tour of the flood-hit areas, Wen chaired a symposium on disaster-relief work. He fully approved the results achieved so far in flood-fighting.
He stressed that this is only the early stage of the main flood season, and that the whole country must be prepared for the worse things to happen. Flood fighting and disaster relief work must be well organized and all forces must be mobilized to win the fight against floods.
(Xinhua News Agency July 15, 2007)