Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, has rushed to Hunan to help direct disaster relief work in the central Chinese province. Hunan has suffered an unprecedented cold spell for more than two weeks, with the heaviest snow falls since 1954.
Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in the city of Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, on Tuesday morning.
He flew out of Beijing on Monday night, but had to land at Tianhe Airport in neighboring Hubei Province because of the bad weather in Hunan, before completing his journey by train.
During the flight, Wen Jiabao discussed the disaster relief situation with officials accompanying him.
He said the crisis there means the government can't wait any longer.
Wen Jiabao said, "What we need mostly is to mobilize people to clear the ice and snow. It's an important job, whether on the roads or on the electricity lines. "
After discussing the current situation in Hunan, the Premier decided immediately to establish disaster-relief headquarters in Changsha. His aim is to safeguard the supply of electricity, and the efficient transport of resources such as coal and petroleum.
Chinese Premier Wen jiabao (3rd L) listens to an unidentified
official on boarding the special plane flying from Beijing to
central China's Hunan Province on January 28, 2008. Wen went to
Hunan Monday for an inspection tour of this snow and ice
Wen Jiabao said, "Our task in Hunan Province is to restore the electricity supply and rail operations between Changsha and Shaoguan. If we finish that successfully, it will build up the confidence of the whole nation in combating the disaster."
Shortly after his arrival in Changsha, Wen Jiabao held meetings with Hunan officials on how to fight the ice and snow, and how best to direct disaster relief work.
Wen Jiabao pointed out that the relevant authorities should spare no efforts to restore the electricity network, and resume operations on the railways linking China's north and south.
He said the priority for the railway authorities is to ensure that the transportation of passengers and essential supplies goes off without a hitch during the Spring Festival period.
(CCTV January 30, 2008)