About 10,000 cards were distributed free to construction workers in Beijing on Thursday giving them access to a nationwide emergency rescue and assistance network that is gradually taking shape.
"Dial the hotline 010-66099999, you'll get in touch with the national emergency rescue and assistance center and receive timely and effective help," said head of the emergency assistance promotion center under China's Ministry of Civil Affairs in Beijing Thursday.
He said the network, not yet fully established, was supported by a call center, an air transport system, a nationwide network of hospitals and major insurance organizations.
"Much progress has been made in the establishment of the system," said the official. "We may see China officially establish its own SOS system in several months to come," he added.
According to the official card holders would be entitled to receive timely rescue or assistance without providing any guaranteed funding.
Among recipients of the first 10,000 cards, issued at a music and dance performance entitled "Establishing An Emergency Rescue and Assistance System to Promote Social Harmony," were migrant rural laborers working on projects related to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
(Xinhua News Agency October 27, 2006)