Measures target threat of emergencies
At 9:30 on the morning of June 10th, Beijing's emergency response centre received a report saying that Haidian and Shijingshan districts had suffered from a massive power cut.
Vehicles were immediately dispatched, and more than 2,000 workers spent an hour correcting the fault.
This was actually a drill, the first of its kind in the city, to improve emergency responses to power failures.
Throughout China, similar measures are being taken to deal with the threat of public emergencies. According to a report in Outlook Weekly, published by Xinhua News Agency, public emergencies are a frequent occurrence in the country.
Last year, natural disasters, accidents and social security incidents caused a direct economic loss of more than 455 billion yuan (US$56 billion), said the report quoting statistics offered by Zheng Gongcheng, vice-dean of the labour and personnel school of Renmin University of China.
According to Li Junpeng, an associate professor with the public management department of the National School of Administration, in 2003, when severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) broke out, work place accidents, natural disasters, transport accidents and health emergencies together cost 650 billion yuan (US$80 billion), equal to 6 per cent of the country's GDP.
According to the report, the making of laws on handling sudden incidents and emergencies has been included in the plan of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress.
An initial national emergency response framework is in place, consisting of an overall national solution and 25 specialized solutions, the report quoted State Council Secretary General Hua Jianmin as saying.
Hua made the remark when reporting to the 14th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress in early March.
In addition, provincial plans for responding to public emergencies have also been made, Hua said, adding that the next step would be making similar plans for communities, villages and key companies.
(China Daily 08/08/2005 page2)