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Prioritize saving lives in rescue work: Premier

Updated: 2013-07-11 19:13
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - Premier Li Keqiang and other leaders have ordered relevant authorities to prioritize lifesaving efforts while conducting rescue work following rain-triggered natural disasters that have wreaked havoc across the country since Sunday, leaving 30 dead and 67 others missing.

Floods and landslides caused by the downpours have affected about 3.73 million people in 17 provincial-level regions, as well as forced the relocation of 212,000 residents, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Thursday.

The rainstorms also destroyed more than 8,400 houses and damaged another 113,000, causing direct economic losses of 8.56 billion yuan (around $1.4 billion), according to the ministry.

In a written instruction, Li and other senior officials asked relevant departments in disaster-affected regions to enhance monitoring, issue early warnings and watch weather conditions closely.

The leaders also stressed evacuating residents in threatened areas in a timely manner and making efforts to ensure the safety of both residents and rescue personnel.

To minimize losses, precautionary measures should be taken to prevent secondary disasters and ensure the security of dikes and reservoirs.

Echoing the leaders' orders, the General Office of the State Council, or China's cabinet, issued a circular on Wednesday asking government agencies to better implement existing measures and create more detailed plans for disaster relief to prevent major incidents from incurring large casualties.

"Under major disastrous weather conditions and threats, schools should suspend classes, factories should suspend production and events involving large numbers of people should be cancelled," the circular said.

The State Council urged major officials to go to disaster-stricken areas to direct relief work on-site.

Officials will be strictly dealt with if they are found to be negligent, incapable of doing their duty or if their poor management results in serious consequences, according to the circular.

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