Leaders stress saving lives in mudslides-flattened China county

Senior Chinese leaders on Tuesday called for greater efforts to save lives and property in the mudslide-flattened county of Zhouqu in northwestern China's Gansu Province.

Authorities must make scientific arrangements, take more forceful measures and make the most of every second to save those trapped, said a statement issued after a meeting of members of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau.

The meeting was presided over by CPC Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao.

Acknowledging the progress rescuers had made, the statement urged authorities to double their efforts in searching for survivors, draining mudslide-formed barrier lakes, and clearing sludge.

They should guard against secondary geological hazards, transport people affected to safe areas, and provide them with sufficient shelter, food, drinking water, and medical services.

People badly injured in the disaster should be transported to better equipped regions for treatment, the statement said.

Disease prevention work in the area must be strengthened.

It also asked local authorities to repair telecommunications, water and electricity supply facilities as well as roads and other infrastructure facilities as soon as possible, and to draw up reconstruction plans.

Local CPC committees and government departments should give top priority to emergency rescue and relief work, in order to minimize the damage caused by the mudslides, the statement said.

It demanded Party and government leaders work on the frontline of disaster relief, and asked members of the CPC to play a leading role in maintaining public stability.

The People's Liberation Army troops, armed police officers and police should be in the vanguard of disaster relief work, it said.

The statement cautioned authorities around the country on the need to step up flood prevention and relief work, enhance disaster prevention and reduction capabilities, and to cooperate with each other.

The Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee Tuesday issued a notice urging Party organizations and members to fully implement the decisions of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau.

The notice called on Party cadres and members to play a leading role in the rescue and disaster relief work.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC in a notice also ordered strict monitoring of the use of disaster relief funds, supplies and donations.

The death toll from the mudslide has risen to 702, with 1,042 others still missing, local civil affairs authorities told a news conference Tuesday afternoon.


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