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Mobilizing resources
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It has been long time since we have witnessed such heavy snowfalls in central, eastern and southwestern parts of the country. Its timing - pre-holiday travel peak period - has made the situation even worse.

The snowfalls and sleet have lasted for more than a week and will continue possibly for another week. Nineteen airports in 14 provinces and autonomous regions have been closed, as well as dozens of highways and expressways.

The affected provinces and regions, where temperatures are usually moderate at this time of the year, were caught off-guard. Little did they expect such prolonged snowfalls. The unpreparedness has apparently added to the chaos.

Water pipes cracked in some cities, cutting off the supply of drinking water to thousands of residents; the breakdown in electricity grids caused blackouts in some counties in southwestern Guizhou; the power failure also cut off electric railway transport from Beijing to Guangzhou and thousands of passengers were stranded.

The State Council has convened a teleconference to call on governments at various levels to do their best to alleviate the inconvenience and losses local people have suffered, and to rush food and water to those stranded.

Governments are undoubtedly facing a challenge. It will be a test of how quickly they can mobilize resources to deal with the situation, and how well they have prepared in the past for such emergencies.

A Chinese proverb says, only the toughest grass stands the strongest wind. Those who have done a good job in building a strong team of officials, and have laid a solid foundation in every aspect of their work will have less difficulty in mobilizing resources to reduce inconvenience, and keep losses to a minimum.

Even after the snowfalls cease, the governments will have to face the task of rebuilding damaged transport systems, and repairing electricity grids.

The better the job they do, the lighter the task will be in reconstruction.

(China Daily January 29, 2008)

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