Three Gorges Probe

Vice premier calls to strengthen flood-control


May 27, 2007

CHANGSHA — Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has called for strengthened efforts in flood control and disaster relief in a season of heavy rains and floods in the Yangtze River, China’s longest.

“The flood prevention and control of the Yangtze River has entered a critical stage. Local governments must pay great attention to it and prioritize public safety on their work agenda, ” Hui said during an inspection tour to the central provinces of Hunan and Hubei, the worst flood-hit region each summer.

Hui, also head of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, visited several water projects in some counties and cities, extending greetings to flood control workers and officials.

As China’s longest river, the Yangtze plays a significant role in the country’s sustainable development, but it has been frequently hit by natural disasters such as floods and droughts, Hui said, addressing a meeting of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

“According to meteorological estimates, serious floods will quite likely hit some tributaries of the river while some regions along the waterway will face droughts,” said the vice premier, noting a global trend of frequent disasters and extreme weathers is around the corner.

Hui, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, called for closely monitoring of rainfall, enhanced forecast of typhoon, floods and torrential rains, continuous efforts in flood control and properly settlement of affected people.

Local governments should follow ascientific way of water conservation and management, and build a long-term mechanism of ecological preservation to promote the river’s sustainable development, said Hui.

He also urged local authorities to help farmers with crop growth and harvest during the flood season.

Disasters triggered by rainstorms have killed at least 43 people in floods, slides and lightening strikes in southwest China’s Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality over the past week, according to local governments.

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