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Premier Li stresses protecting lives in flood zone

Updated: Jul 7,2016 9:57 AM     english.gov.cn

Premier Li Keqiang visits Wuhan’s Yangtze River embankment on July 6, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Premier Li Keqiang made a non-stop visit to Fuyang in Anhui province, Yueyang in Hunan province and Wuhan in Hubei province on July 5 -6, to inspect flood control and rescue and relief work in areas along the Yangtze River and Huaihe River.

This year’s flood season started earlier, with intense and large-scale heavy rainfall of long duration. To ensure major rivers and lakes are safe during the flood season and protect people’s lives and properties is of extreme importance. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council attached great importance to this work. General Secretary Xi Jinping and other leaders of the central leadership have given important instructions and directives. Relevant departments of different parts of China have made solid efforts for flood prevention and control.

The Huaihe River is a disaster-prone area, historically. Premier Li visited the Wangjiaba Dam in Fuyang, Anhui province. The dam is known as “the most important dam on the 1,000-kilometer-long Huaihe River”.

Premier Li Keqiang visits Wuhan’s Yangtze River embankment on July 6, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

He carefully observed water coming from upstream, inquired about developments in the flood situation, and asked working personnel to stay vigilant to such changes and make accurate and timely forecasts based on monitoring. Premier Li also heard briefings from the head of the Huaihe River Water Conservancy Commission. He said that July and August are critical months for flood control.

“The harder battle is yet to come. The Commission should always bear safety in mind and never slacken efforts. It should work in a well-coordinated way between the upper stream and lower stream, make good preparation for various kinds of emergencies and gain the initiative in flood control and disaster relief”, he said.

When visiting Zhengtaizi embankment in the Mengwa flood storage area, Premier Li asked local residents about their production and living conditions, as well as food and drug preparation for the flood season.

Premier Li Keqiang visits Wuhan’s Yangtze River embankment on July 6, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

He inquired about measures taken to ensure that the embankment is strong enough. He told local officials that they are in charge of a critical area for flood control in Huaihe River. They need to make sure that priority is always given to people’s lives and property, work in advance, and put in place safeguards to make people more confident that they will prevail over the disaster.

The Premier said that “the Party and the government will continue to give more support and make sure that the flood storage lowland does not become a lowland for people’s livelihoods”.

Baishiling village is an urban village in Yueyang city. Due to continuous heavy rainfall, many houses have been submerged. Premier Li arrived here despite the rainfall, carefully inspecting the flood situation, and asking how the relocation is going.

He said that now, many cities have seen floods within the city area. This is due to intense rainfall, and it also reflects an “historical deficit” in urban construction.

He asked for efforts to be made to ensure proper settlement for the affected population and for speeding up the renovation of shanty towns and the construction of an underground pipeline corridor to address this weakness and “scar” on the city and to raise disaster response capacity both above ground and underground.

The Premier also visited Jingjiang, the most dangerous section of the Yangtze River. He inspected the power-pumped section along the Jingjiang River in Yueyang city and the Liuyehu section of the Jianxinyuan embankments of the Dongting Lake, checking the water level and dam situation there. Leading officials of the Yangtze River Water Conservancy Commission briefed the Premier about their flood control efforts.

Premier Li said that ensuring the safety of the main embankments is critical to flood control and must therefore never be taken lightly. As the main flood season has just arrived, the situation could get worse before it gets better.

It is important to make all-weathered patrols of the embankments, reservoirs and other projects. Efforts must not be slackened in the slightest way. Contingent plans must be made in light of the latest developments to ensure the overall safety of major rivers, lakes and the basin area throughout the flood season.

The rainfall in Wuhan city has exceeded 600 mm in one week, leading to the rapid rise of water levels of the Yangtze River and Han River, both of which have passed the warning line. The non-stop torrential rains have caused piping in one section of the main embankment in the city along the Yangtze River.

Premier Li went to the site and inquired about the situation on the ground from soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army, armed police, water conservancy workers and other personnel fighting on the front line and asked them whether there exist fresh risks in the surrounding areas.

He said that taking care of a densely-populated area means heavy responsibilities. “Although the embankment is much more solid than before, we still should not drop our alert,” he said. “Even one ant hole may cause the collapse of a solid dyke.

This piping incident is a cause of alarm for us. We are in a critical period for flood control. It is imperative to fill up all loopholes and guard against invisible perils, cement the embankment and gather useful experience. We need to remove all hidden dangers and ensure the safety of the people.”

The water level of the Longwangmiao section of the Yangtze River has passed the warning line and is above the city roadbed. Wading through the river water, Premier Li inspected the embankment consolidation and material preparation.

He said that for flood control, “prevention is the foundation, control is the key, while people is at the core”. “It is important to strengthen patrol and inspection, remove risks and leave nothing to chance. We must ensure safety for the tens of millions of citizens in Wuhan. Having withstood the test of massive flooding in the past, we are in a better position with greater confidence to safeguard our homeland.” he said.

“The central government will lose no time in allocating flood prevention and disaster relief funds in support of local efforts. We will guide different parts of China to make accurate early warnings, set aside adequate materials, make available a strong task force, take prompt actions in response to emergency and work in concert to win the hard battle of flood control this year.” he added.

Vice-Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jing also took part in the inspection tour.

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