Friday, September 26, 2008

Chinese Vice Premier vows to improve disaster response, relief

The government pledged on Friday to improve its emergency response and disaster relief abilities, as new floods and typhoons affected people in south China, including many who survived the May 12 earthquake.

"Improving disaster relief is a fundamental task in realizing scientific development and building a harmonious society," Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said at a national conference on Friday.

China experienced some of the most serious natural disasters this year, with losses of life and property on a scale rarely seen in its history, he said.

The government will upgrade the emergency response and disaster relief system by increasing input, he said.

Hui urged local authorities to continue taking effective measures to minimize the loss of life and property in southern China.

He stressed the necessity to evacuate and relocate people threatened by natural disasters, repair damaged infrastructure and prevent ensuing disasters.

Hui also urged relevant authorities to deal with the renewed risks from the Tangjiashan quake lake "in a timely manner".

Water levels in the lake, the largest of 34 formed as a result of the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province, have risen menacingly in recent days amid torrential rain.

At least 14 people were killed in the quake-battered province where the heavy rain triggered disasters.

Typhoon Hagupit, the 14th strong typhoon this year, killed 10 people in south China since it landed in Maoming, Guangdong, on Wednesday.

Floods and high winds spawned by the storm affected 8.73 million people and 400,000 hectares of crops in southern Guangdong Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

He asked local governments and departments to enhance assistance to the quake zone, speed up the reconstruction of destroyed residences in rural areas and ensure all survivors spent a safe and warm winter.

Source: Xinhua

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