Disas­ters must not be wind­falls for the greedy

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - PO­LICE IN SUIDE COUNTY

in North­west China’s Shaanxi prov­ince have banned lo­cals from col­lect­ing unat­tended goods af­ter tor­ren­tial rain caused flood­ing over the past few days. Bei­jing News com­mented on Thurs­day:

That the lo­cal govern­ment al­lo­cated 250 mil­lion yuan ($37 mil­lion) for flood con­trol and res­cue work and launched a Level 2 emer­gency re­sponse, to some ex­tent, in­di­cates the floods came faster than ex­pected.

It is a shame that some Suide res­i­dents chose to take ad­van­tage of that and the evac­u­a­tion of 20,000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing many shop own­ers, to loot the flooded stores.

The loot­ers have no rea­son to take the things that do not be­long to them, not least when they them­selves could well fall vic­tim to prob­a­bly the worst flood­ing seen in the prov­ince for decades. Their wrong­do­ings must be stopped and they should be held crim­i­nally ac­count­able de­spite the emer­gency sit­u­a­tion.

Some might be tempted to loot unat­tended shops if there is no one to stop them when a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter strikes. But what they are do­ing is theft. Loot­ers also risk ham­per­ing flood con­trol ef­forts and en­dan­ger­ing pub­lic se­cu­rity if they steal emer­gency sup­plies and dis­tract the lo­cal po­lice from the ur­gent task of evac­u­at­ing af­fected res­i­dents and res­cu­ing those in danger.

Dur­ing pre­vi­ous disas­ters, res­cue and re­lief ef­forts have been over­shad­owed by some ig­no­rant, in­sa­tiable peo­ple, who saw the mis­for­tune of oth­ers as the op­por­tu­nity to pick up “wind­falls”. It is a re­lief that the flood con­trol mis­sions are be­ing car­ried out smoothly in the prov­ince, but those in­volved in loot­ing will have to pay the price for break­ing the law.

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