The biggest search and rescue exercise along the Yangtze River
was held on Saturday in this port city in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.
Organized by the Ministry of Communications and the Chongqing
municipal government, the 2007 Yangtze Three Gorges Reservoir Joint
Search and Rescue Maneuvre was aimed at testing and demonstrating
the country's emergency response capabilities along the Yangtze,
the world's busiest river in terms of cargo transportation, said
officials from the Ministry of Communications.
Involving 22 departments, the 90-minute exercise involved the
rescue of passengers in a boat collision, extinguishing a fire and
clearing of an oil leak as a result of the collision.
It also included the search and arrest of two terrorists and the
removal of explosives, and the evacuation of passengers and boats
from a site where a landslide was taking place.
More than 500 people 68 boats and a helicopter participated in
the exercise, Yuan Zongxiang, chief of the Yangtze River Maritime
Liu Dongcheng, deputy chief of the Maritime Bureau under the
Ministry of Communications, said the exercise witnessed the use of
the world's most advanced rescue equipment and the country's most
advanced rescue boats.
As China's only waterway crossing the eastern, central and western
parts of the country, the Yangtze River transported 897 million
tons of cargo last year, maintaining its position as the world's
largest river in terms of cargo transportation, Liu said.
The government attaches great importance to the development of
the Yangtze River. During the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05), the
country invested more than 3 billion yuan (US$400 million) to
improve navigation in the river during the dry season.
Wang Yang, Party chief of Chongqing, said the reason the
exercise was held in Wanzhou was that it is located in the center
of the Three Gorges dam area.
Since the Three Gorges Project started storing water in 2003,
the reservoir area has witnessed improvement in navigation
conditions and an increase in the number of boats.
There are 80,000 boats that ply the Yangtze. In the Three Gorges
reservoir area alone, there are 50,000 boats with more than 300,000
"If an incident takes place, it could result in heavy loss of
life and property," Yuan told China Daily.
Before the Three Gorges started storing water, the Yangtze River
in the reservoir area was narrow, and the water flow swift and
Emergency Rescue Exercise
September 24, 2007)