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The heat is on

China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-01 09:01

It is unbearably hot. With temperatures hitting record highs, a level-two nationwide emergency heat alert was issued for the first time on Tuesday.

Temperatures in the south and southwest of the country have hit 40 C in the past week, and there have been heat-related deaths reported in Shanghai and some other cities.

With temperatures in Shanghai soaring to 35 C or above on 24 days this month, it has been the hottest July since records began 140 years ago, and the heat wave is expected to last at least another week, according to the city's meteorological bureau.

Millions of villagers in nine provinces are struggling to cope with the dry spell and in some places villagers are having difficulty getting enough drinking water. Drought has affected 12.2 million people in Guizhou province, and 2 million people there face a shortage of drinking water, the provincial government said on Tuesday.

Both the central and local governments need to do whatever they can to quench the thirst of those places where drinking water is a problem, especially as the drought is expected to worsen in places in the coming month.

Such extreme weather is a test of government emergency response capabilities. How well a local government has prepared for such scorching heat will have a direct bearing on the quality of residents' lives.

They should reduce the amount of electricity industries use in order to meet the power needs of residents trying to cool down.

All public facilities and work units need to save energy to prevent the power use spiking beyond the capacity load.

Special care should be given to the elderly, who are some of the most vulnerable when temperatures soar. Community workers need to notify senior residents of the ways to keep themselves safe during the heat wave.

Also precautions need to be taken to protect those who work outdoors and emergency teams need to be ready to treat people suffering from heat stroke and dehydration.

Only when a government pays enough attention to all the details concerning the administration of the locality with the lofty people-first principle will all residents be able to beat the scorching heat comfortably.

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