The State Council on Oct 24 announced a national program offering temporary assistance to needy families facing emergencies.
The cabinet said in a circular the program aims to provide assistance to individuals or families affected by unforeseen circumstances - such as severe illness or natural disasters - who do not have the financial resources to cope with the situation.
The aid includes cash and/or supplies such as clothes, food, drinking water and temporary shelter. Those who require more assistance than this program can offer may be transferred to another program.
Individuals or families can file applications for the emergency assistance at the local government offices in their town or subdistrict of residence.
The government offices are not permitted to turn down applications without justifiable reason. They should investigate the financial resources and circumstances of each applicant, offer their opinion regarding the granting of emergency aid, and submit their recommendation to the civil affairs departments of the county-level government for a final decision.
If the amount of money involved is relatively small, government offices in towns or subdistricts can make the decisions regarding allocating aid.
Also, government offices and grassroots self-governing organizations - community resident committees and villagers’ committees - should make sure they are aware of residents dealing with unforeseen circumstances such as accidents and severe illnesses and - if necessary - they should help these residents file applications for emergency aid.
The State Council also asked that law enforcement departments such as the police should take measures to assist residents in dire situations - such as minors, those with mental issues, and those who are critically ill but unable to seek assistance themselves.
The government should also encourage charities, social work organizations, enterprises and volunteers to take part in the emergency aid program.
Enterprises and non-governmental organizations taking part in the program will be able to enjoy subsidies and/or tax cuts according relevant regulations.
Government departments should strengthen supervision on the program to prevent crimes such as embezzlement, and should publish details about the program on a regular basis, the State Council said.