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China to enhance fire control in social welfare institutions

Updated: Oct 16,2015 9:22 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — In a long-term response to a fire that killed 39 people at a rest home in May, China will conduct a one-year campaign to strengthen fire control measures in rest homes and other social welfare institutions.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security said at a meeting on Oct 15 that they will conduct the safety-checks to clear fire hazards in social welfare institutions that accommodate ten people and more.

In particular, the campaign will strive to eliminate the use of highly combustible materials in building these institutions.

Besides rest homes for senior citizens, the campaign also covers orphanages, asylums, relief stations and foster homes.

Zou Ming, vice-minister of the Civil Affairs Ministry, said at the meeting that severe safety risks face the numerous welfare institutions all across the country serving a large number of people. The fire in May was a profound lesson.

In May 39 people were killed at a row of bungalows at a privately owned rest home in Pingdingshan in central China’s Henan province.

The two ministries on Oct 15 also issued a new and tougher fire-control regulations for social welfare institutions.

Latest figures show China has some 32,000 registered homes for senior citizens. It has around 220,000 caregivers in rest homes, while 10 million are needed.

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