The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has included rescue and disaster relief operations in its training programs starting this year, military sources said.
This is the first time that the PLA adopted such training for its soldiers, said Zhang Lizhi, political commissar of the Shanghai garrison command of the PLA, adding it can improve the PLA's ability to help victims in disasters and reduce losses.
Ou Jingu, head of the equipment department of the Guangzhou Military Area Command, said that such kind of training can make the army get well prepared to deal with emergencies.
The PLA has always been an important force in fighting disasters. More than 300,000 soldiers participated in fighting the floods on the Yangtze, Nenjing and Songhua rivers in 1998.
Both Zhang and Ou are deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC), who are attending the annual session of the top legislature of China.
(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2002)