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China Prepares to Improve Disaster Response and Relief Capability

The Chinese government pledged on Tuesday to improve its emergency response and disaster relief capability, as the country has experienced its most severe natural disasters since 1998.

Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said the country's early warning and disaster monitoring network will be upgraded, the construction quality of residential buildings and infrastructure will be improved along with enforcement of emergency response measures and disaster relief.

He said China suffers some of the most serious natural disasters in the world and the country's ability to predict and cope with disasters is rather limited.

"Improving emergency response and disaster relief is an important task in building a harmonious society," Hui said at a disaster-relief seminar on Tuesday.

The vice premier requested all local governments and departments to improve their sense of responsibility and spare no effort in improving emergency response and disaster relief.

He also said that efforts should be made to improve public awareness to improve people's ability to survive when disaster strikes.

A variety of natural disasters have killed 2,309 Chinese people, left 567 people missing this year. The disasters caused direct economic losses of 191.8 billion yuan and over 13.2 million people were evacuated and relocated.

So far, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has allocated 3.2 billion yuan of from the central government's emergency disaster relief funds and sent 44,100 tents to affected areas.

Hui said China's disaster-hit areas are currently undergoing intense and orderly reconstruction.

He asked local governments and departments to enhance assistance to the disaster-hit areas, speed up the reconstruction of the destroyed residential buildings and ensure that "everyone affected by the disasters have access to food, clothing, shelter, clean water and timely medical treatment."

(Xinhua News Agency October 11, 2006)

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