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Premier: Bolster flood control, disaster relief efforts

Pub Date:2021-07-27 08:41 Source:China Daily

Premier Li Keqiang called on Monday for stronger early warning and first response mechanisms to beef up flood control and disaster relief measures, saying that the central government will mobilize a fund of several billion yuan from its contingency reserve to help flood-hit areas.

Speaking during a videoconference in Beijing on fighting the floods and providing disaster relief, Li said the central government will scale up relief measures based on a more thorough assessment of the situation, and local authorities must arrange special funding and use the donations in a transparent manner.

Li called for stronger forecasts for rain, floods and typhoons, saying that the response mechanisms for early warning must be reinforced to ensure timely warning and response.

In the case of severe flooding in urban areas, authorities must adopt resolute measures to suspend work, schools and businesses while ensuring the smooth supply of electricity, tap water and telecommunications to key units such as hospitals, he said.

He called for concrete contingency measures to ensure public safety in areas with a dense population, including in subways, tunnels and underground areas, saying that measures can be as harsh as necessary to avoid casualties.

Li's remarks came as authorities in Henan province said on Monday that the recent rain-triggered floods have killed 69 people, with five people still missing and more than 12.9 million people affected.

Typhoon In-Fa, the sixth of its kind this year, made its second landfall in Zhejiang province on Monday. Despite being downgraded to a tropical storm and weakening after the second landfall, In-Fa was expected to bring a new wave of torrential rain to areas including Henan province.

During the conference, the premier underlined a highly grave situation of flood control and prevention, citing meteorological forecasts that said there could still be strong rainstorms in some areas in northern China and strong impact from typhoons in coastal areas.

It is important to adopt across-the-board measures to prevent hazards and minimize losses, he said.

Ensuring the safety of people and property must always come first, and flood-hit areas such as Henan must continue to prioritize rescuing and helping flood victims, he said.

There should be no areas or people left behind during the rescue process, and professional rescuers and equipment as well as resources from nongovernmental sectors should be sent to areas where they are needed most, he added.

He urged authorities to focus on the safety of key river sections, reservoirs, dams and major infrastructure and flood prevention efforts to protect key public venues in cities, saying that patrols and flood prevention materials should be boosted to ensure rapid response to emergencies.

Li called for sound steps to ensure the basic living conditions of flood-hit victims and to strengthen sanitary and epidemic prevention measures in flood-hit regions, with quicker steps to restore electricity, tap water, transportation and telecommunications.

In an emergency notice issued on Sunday, the National Development and Reform Commission urged cities to step up efforts to ensure the safety and protection of key infrastructure, with measures to conduct an across-the-board overhaul to remove potential hazards.

Cities must come up with a detailed list of low-lying areas that are susceptible to flooding, such as tunnels of rail transit systems, roads, railways and underground spaces, before coming up with targeted response measures, the notice said.


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