KUNMING - Chinese local officials were ordered to carry out pre-emptive evacuations to avoid heavy casualties in geological disasters after a series of mudslides left nearly 2,000 people dead or missing in less than two weeks.
In a work conference held in southwest China's Yunnan Province, Minister of Land and Resources Xu Shaoshi ordered local officials not to hesitate in forcing residents in disasters-threatened zones to move.
"As long as there is a sign of geological disasters looming, officials should take it seriously and carry out the evacuations," Xu said. "It is better to hear the people's blames than their cries."
Xu also ordered local offcials to strengthen monitoring efforts by using advanced technologies and mobilizing the public.
China has been suffering from a string of rain-triggered disasters recently as the country battles its worst floods in more than a decade.
Yunnan is the latest to be hit by massive mudslides.
As of Sunday, 29 people were killed and 63 remained missing after mudslides hit the remote, mountainous town of Gongshan in the province on Wednesday.
In the northwestern province of Gansu, at least 1,435 people were killed and another 330 are reported missing after an avalanche of mud and rocks hit the center town of Zhouqu County at mid-night August 7.
Rain-triggered mudslides also killed more than 18 people in Wenchuan and Qingchuan counties in southwest China's Sichuan - which was devastated by a massive earthquake in 2008.