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14,000 Medical Staff Sent to Disaster-affected Areas

China's Ministry of Health on Wednesday announced that about 14,000 medical staff have been dispatched to treat the sick and injured in areas worst affected by the severe winter disaster.

The personnel in 2,923 groups will work in Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces as well as Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chongqing Municipality.

Minister of Health Chen Zhu and Deputy Minister Gao Qiang have ordered public health administrations to carefully implement the state medical procedures and rescue emergency response plans to ensure timely treatment for the ill and injured.

Local health administrations should also ensure food and drinking water safety.

The authorities have delivered 3.45 million brochures to people in disaster-affected areas to raise awareness of disease prevention and to advise on how to deal with the weather.

Tens of millions of people in central and south China's 14 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions are suffering the heaviest snow and sleet and the coldest temperatures in five decades.

On Wednesday morning, the Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Communications jointly issued a circular saying that expressways nationwide should not be "randomly" closed.

(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2008)

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