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Emergency response guidelines announced
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-09 05:38

Major emergencies or incidents must be reported to the State Council within four hours, and the public should be informed in a timely, accurate fashion.

A colour-coded system, ranging from red to blue, will be deployed to alert people to the seriousness of possible contingencies.

The stipulations are part of a national plan on emergency response unveiled by the Chinese cabinet yesterday; and will become a blueprint on how to prevent and deal with a variety of situations.

The guidelines come at a time when a string of serious cases, including contamination of drinking water, bird flu outbreaks and mine accidents, have stricken China over the past few months.

The purpose is to "increase the government's capability to protect public safety, deal with unexpected incidents, minimize losses, maintain social stability, and promote the harmonious and sustainable development of the country," Xinhua reported yesterday.

Before the national plan was announced, all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities had made their own emergency plans, indicating a basic emergency response framework has been set up in China.

The national plan tackles natural disasters, accidents, public health and social safety, and is graded I to IV, or from most serious to less serious.

A Class I or Class II incident must be reported to the State Council within four hours, with contingency plans activated at the same time.

The State Council will create an office in charge of emergency response management to collect information on various incidents and co-ordinate response work.

In case incidents in foreign countries involve Chinese citizens and organizations, Chinese embassies and relevant State Council departments and regional governments should organize emergency relief work.

Information about emergencies will be released through the Internet and other media, the plan says.

The plan prescribes the responsibilities of various departments in manpower, finance, material resources, transportation, medical care and communication.

The army and police will be major taskforces dealing with emergencies, it says.

People and organizations at home and abroad are encouraged to participate in emergency relief and donations.

While people who make outstanding contributions to emergency response will be rewarded, those who fail to report the true state of incidents or cover up incidents will be penalized.

(China Daily 01/09/2006 page1)

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