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Center Set Up for Disaster Operations
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A national control center for coordinating work safety and rescue operations throughout China was established yesterday in Beijing to upgrade the management of affairs after various accidents and emergencies.

With five functional departments and 80 employees, the center will operate directly under the leadership of the Work Safety Committee of the State Council.

One of the center's most significant jobs is to work out contingency plans following various accidents that may occur in all sectors and carry out any rescue operations, said Li Yizhong, minister of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).

After putting such schemes on file for local governments and authorities concerned, he urged workers at the center to supervise drilling by enterprises and local authorities as a way to perfect rescue measures, systems and material reserves.

Under the plan, managers and heads of local governments were required to undergo training to familiarize themselves with their duties during rescue operations.

To improve the self-protective capabilities of ordinary citizens, Li hopes the center can publicize the proper steps to take after an accident or hazard.

The center will also issue a set of coordinating rules for the management of information, personnel, experts and fund guarantee for contingency rescue operations through legislation, Li said.

More experts from scientific research institutions, colleges, and associations from different sectors will help with studies particularly on how to prevent coal-mine gas and the leakage of dangerous chemicals.

Last year, there were 803,571 reported accidents of various kinds, causing the death of 136,755 people, SAWS statistics indicated.

Official sources said that road accidents led all categories last year. This year, China is striving to lower the growth rate of deaths from road accidents by 1.5 percentage points.

In the coal mining industry alone, China reported 3,639 fatal incidents last year, with a death toll of 6,027, making it the second most dangerous sector.

Many of those mining accidents occurred one after another during the fourth quarter of last year.

(China Daily February 22, 2006)

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