President Xi stresses ensuring people’s safety as top priority in fighting floods

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday stressed saving people’s lives as the top priority in flood prevention and rescue.

President Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, issued the instruction as heavy rain batters central China’s Henan Province.

He noted that torrential rain continued to batter Henan, as downpours caused waterlogging in cities such as provincial capital Zhengzhou.

Some rivers in the province have seen their water levels exceed the alarm levels, the president said, and several dams have collapsed. Some railway lines were shut down and flights canceled, amid major damage and property losses.

He described the flood control situation as “grim” and having “entered a crucial period.”

Xi called for officials and Party members at all levels to assume responsibilities and go to the frontline to guide flood control work, quickly organize flood prevention and disaster relief forces, properly arrange disaster victims, prevent secondary disasters and minimize casualties and property damage.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army and armed police force troops should actively coordinate local rescue and relief work, he said.

The country’s flood control, emergency response, water resource and transport authorities should strengthen coordination and do solid work in safety hazards checking, important infrastructure protection, monitoring and early warning of rainfall, typhoons, flash floods, mudslides and traffic dispersion, Xi said.

While making effective flood control and disaster relief efforts, local authorities should at the same time carefully plan the reconstruction to restore production and help people return to normal life as soon as possible, Xi stressed.

He added serious efforts must be made to assist the disaster-affected poor residents so that they will not fall back into poverty because of the disasters.

Xi also emphasized the importance of sanitation and anti-epidemic work, warning of the possibility of major disease outbreaks in the aftermath of natural disasters.