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Emergency funds allocated for quake-hit reservoirs
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China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Friday said it had allocated 53 million yuan (US$7.61 million) in emergency fund to assess and respond to damage caused to reservoirs by Monday's earthquake in Sichuan Province.

The money will also be used to rebuild hydrological and weather monitoring facilities in southwest China.

The goal is to guarantee the safety of medium-sized and large reservoirs and prevent secondary disasters in Wenchuan County, the epicenter of the earthquake, the NDRC said in a statement.

The allocation, made on Thursday, came after senior Chinese officials warned local governments in quake-stricken areas of the dangers of damaged reservoirs.

On Thursday, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said several reservoirs were affected by Monday's devastating earthquake and urged local officials to check those sites' conditions and guard against secondary disasters.

Also on Thursday, Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei warned that Sichuan, where the epicenter was located, had a large number of reservoirs, many of which had sustained significant but still unknown damage in the quake.

Chen suggested local administrations assess potential dangers at these facilities by analyzing satellite and other aerial images and evacuate downstream residents, if necessary.

(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2008)

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