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Gov't Warns of Continued Risk from Natural Disasters
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China's State Council on Thursday urged local governments to maintain a high alert against natural disasters as relief and prevention remained a pressing task.

"The season of flood and typhoons is not finished yet. High temperatures and drought are worsening in many regions, triggering the danger of forest fires," said the meeting's memorandum.

Presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, the executive meeting praised PLA solders, armed police, public security forces, and militia who had conducted emergency operations during and after Typhoon Saomai and during the strongest drought to hit China in half a century.

The meeting required local governments to make protection of the lives and property of the public a priority.

Meteorological and hydrological departments must give timely warnings of weather and river-level changes. The risks of geological dangers, such as landslides and mud-rock flows, and forest fires must be publicized as soon as possible, it said.

The executive urged local governments to inspect dams and reservoirs to assess the risks of breaches during the flood season.

In drought-ravaged Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality, the priority was to secure drinkable water supplies for the people. Damaged water supply and irrigation facilities must be repaired immediately. Small and efficient water-storage and transmission facilities should be put to use.

The statement said clean drinking water, clothing and shelter, medical services and schooling should be available to those affected.

Government officials must take all possible measures to increase the incomes of disaster victims and minimize their losses, it noted.

The maintenance and construction of school buildings should be a priority of post-disaster reconstruction, it stressed.

(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2006)

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