While visiting the flood-stricken residents in Funan County, east China's Anhui Province, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said Tuesday that he has always been concerned about the people in flood-stricken areas. Xi also checked the water situation of the Huaihe River and learned about local measures for flood control, disaster relief and post-flood production recovery during his inspection tour in the province. As China experienced a particularly tough test in flood control this summer, coupled with small, scattered outbreaks of the COVID-19 epidemic, the authorities have pooled resources to concentrate efforts to safeguard people's lives and property. Since the start of the flood season, China has allocated central budgetary funds for disaster relief totaling 1.155 billion yuan (about 167 million U.S. dollars) for regions hit by floods as of July 13. To ensure ample manpower in the fight against the floods, the Chinese People's Liberation Army and the People's Armed Police Force joined in the flood control work, dispatching troops to 3,749 operations of flood relief and helping evacuate 137,000 residents affected by the floods as of July 28. The key behind the country's strong actions to control the floods is its people-centered governing philosophy. In a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on July 17, Xi stressed putting people's lives and property first and taking more forceful measures to do a good job in flood control and relief work. To help flood-hit regions overcome difficulties, the country has established a mechanism that allows local authorities to apply for a part of budgetary disaster relief funds before the tallying of disaster losses is completed, making relief operations more timely and efficient. "This can effectively reduce the number of people who die or disappear in disasters, and save people's lives and properties to a much better extent," said Yang Xiaodong, an official with the Ministry of Emergency Management. Regarding flood victims in post-flood recovery, local authorities were required to enhance support for them in terms of epidemic control, life assistance, production, hygiene and compensation to restore production and life orders. Workshops and recruitment campaigns were launched by local governments to ensure those who have shaken off poverty will not fall back to poverty due to the floods. China's governing capability combined with its people-oriented approach has acted as a double-layer shield with a great degree of strength and resilience against the threats of floods and disasters. Statistics show that the number of people dead or missing due to the floods since July was 82 percent lower than the average for the same period of the past five years, while collapsed houses and direct economic losses dropped 78.3 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively. During his inspection tour in Anhui, Xi stressed that the country must improve its capability to prevent and combat disasters in its effort to build a modern socialist country in an all-round way. As enhancing capacity on disaster prevention is expected to be included in more of the country's policies such as the 14th Five-Year Plan, the shield can only become stronger. in a way nothing else could, and Chengdu is known for its food culture,” Su said, adding that she hoped to recommend Sichuan cuisine to foreign guests. For Liu Jia, a volunteer from Sichuan Vocational College of Culture & Communication, what he wanted to do most is to let visitors feel Chengdu’s vitality. “Many net users thought that Chengdu is the most livable city in China where people live a carefree and comfortable life, as seniors are seen playing Mahjong and people drinking tea in parks for a whole afternoon,” he said, noting that it’s not the whole picture. “Chengdu is an emerging city full of vigor and vitality and with expanding urban areas. There will be 18 metro lines in the city,” Liu added. Chengdu marked the one-year countdown to the Universiade on Tuesday. On July 14, 2019, the city received the Universiade flag from Naples, where the 2018 Summer Universiade took place. Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan province has recruited 3,000 key volunteers for the 31st Summer World University Games, or Universiade, from 50,000 applicants in the host city’s 44 colleges and universities. A total of 50 training courses were offered in five batches for these volunteers. In April, the city launched the first online test for them, with a pass rate of 98 percent. Wang Tao, a sophomore from Wang said. Chengdu Institute of Sichuan He expected to feel the charm International Studies of international competitions University, is one of them. With and display what he has learned true love for classic Chinese in the training throughvolunteering. poems, he cherished the opportunity Wang felt hisresponsibilities of being a volunteer for as a volunteer more the Games and wanted to share keenly, saying that a volunteer Chengdu’s cultural glamour with shall serve as a bridge between foreign guests. Chengdu and foreign guests to “The beauty of Chengdu is not let them understand and like the only reflected in classic poems city. ike Wang, Su Yujie, a junior about it, but also all aspects of from Southwest Petroleum the city, including scenic spots University, was also eager torecommend such as the Wuhou Temple and Chengdu to the rest of Kuanzhai Alley Pedestrian the world. Street with rich history and culture,” “Food can bring people closer Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday urged counselors of the State Council and researchers of the China Central Institute for Culture and History to play an active role in promoting economic and social development. Li made the remarks in a speech after he presented certificates of appointment to newly appointed counselors and researchers. Noting the contributions made by successive counselors and researchers during the past 70 years, Li expressed the hope that the newly appointed counselors and researchers will make proposals for overall development, pay attention to the livelihood of the people and voice their expectations, and better carry forward China's fine traditional culture. Development is the underpinning and the key for solving all problems in the country, Li said, urging the counselors and researchers to make more targeted and forward-looking suggestions to keep the fundamentals of the economy stable, accomplish the targets and tasks set for this year, and lay a solid foundation for the future development amid the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 and a grave and complex economic situation. Noting that the purpose of development is to improve the people's living standards, Li said more attention should be paid to employment, medical services, education, elderly care services, and child care services, among others. - Xinhua Beijing residents are allowed not to wear face masks outdoors, according to the latest guideline issued by Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control on Thursday. However, with the exception of their partners, residents still have to wear face masks while in close contact with other people, according to the guideline focusing on outside activities. When residents go to sports venues, they should follow the rules and get permission before entering. Guardians should accompany children in outdoor activities and pay attention to children's personal hygiene. They should remind children not to touch their eyes, mouths and noses with their hands while playing with shared toys and facilities. In outdoor activities, residents should not spit on the ground, and should use a tissue or their elbow to cover their mouths while sneezing and coughing. Oral and nasal secretions, as well as sputum, should be covered by paper and thrown into the dustbin. China has earmarked 460 million yuan (about 66.5 million U.S. dollars) to support flood control and disaster relief in four provincial-level regions, the Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) said on Wednesday. Designated for Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Chongqing, the funds were allocated by the Ministry of Finance and the MEM for flood control, emergency rescue, and post-disaster reconstruction in regions hit hard by floods. The MEM said it has sent a team of 500 disaster-relief professionals to Sichuan to aid in local flood control and emergency rescue work. China's State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Tuesday raised its emergency response for flood control to the second-highest level, and has sent two ministerial-level task forces to Chongqing and Sichuan to guide and assist local authorities in their flood control efforts. -Xinhua Huang Xiaoping has been busy working in his 110-hectare paddy field, harvesting early rice and sowing for the next season. Huang also runs a rental business involving farm machinery in a village near the Dongting Lake, China's second-largest freshwater lake in the central Hunan Province, helping local farmers during the "double rush" season. "We need to fight the current flood and strengthen the embankments," Huang said. According to China's Ministry of Emergency Management, rain-triggered floods had affected some 54.8 million people in 27 provincial-level regions as of late July, causing direct economic losses of 144.43 billion yuan (about 20.8 billion U.S. dollars). Restrictions on food exports and panic hoarding in some countries and regions, as well as rampant desert locust, have adversely affected food production. "The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020" report released by five agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, projected that COVID-19 could push up to 132 million people into starvation globally this year. Though downpours and floods destroyed vast stretches of farmland and agricultural facilities, flood control situation in the hard-hit provinces of Jiangxi and Anhui is improving as the water level in major waterways continues to recede. The flood control and drought relief headquarters of the two provinces have successively downgraded their emergency response level since early August. In the face of the floods, the Chinese provinces have been mobilizing resources, using upgraded technology, and providing material support to ensure grain security and make up for losses in production. For farmers like Huang, time is the essence. In the lowlying township of Liaonan near the Poyang Lake in Jiangxi, Wu Baolin was busy sowing seeds of late rice with two workers. He saw some two hectares of his crops damaged in the floods. "The harvest is finally guaranteed even if it might be delayed," Wu said, adding that there is no time to lose when it comes to growing crops. In Anhui, replantation of single-cropping rice has been carried out on every piece of farmland where the floodwater has receded. As of early August, more than 100,000 hectares of crops had been resowed, accounting for 38 percent of Anhui's total area of farmland needing replantation, according to the provincial department of agriculture and rural affairs. China's total grain output consists of three parts -- early rice, summer grain and autumn production. Summer grain is the first season of the annual grain production, which accounts for more than a fifth of the annual output. Various measures have been adopted by authorities to ensure stable grain output amid efforts to control the COVID-19 epidemic, such as fully implementing support policies like the minimum purchase price for rice and wheat and improving the quality of spring plowing. As the world's top food producer and consumer, China saw its grain output reach a record high of 664 million tonnes last year, the 16th bumper year in a row. The country's summer grain output reached a historic high of 142.81 million tonnes this year, up 0.9 percent from last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Autumn grain crops, which include corn, middle- and late-season rice and soybean, account for the bulk of China's grain production. The total plantation area of autumn grain has increased steadily this year and the crops are growing fine, thus laying a solid foundation for another bumper harvest. In order to strengthen the prevention and control of plant diseases and pest, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has called for ramped up efforts against the invasion of fall armyworms, rice planthoppers and rice leaf rollers, the three migratory species of pest that threaten autumn grain production. Pan Wenbo, a crop management official with the ministry, said despite severe floods in parts of the country, crop farming remains stable overall. Efforts have been made in grain reserves and circulation, grain purchasing, local grain reserves, and improving the capacity for emergency supply. The Ministry of Emergency Management and the Ministry of Finance have earmarked 935 million yuan in disaster relief funds to aid local disaster relief work in provinces including Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan and Anhui. Agricultural authorities have built up a 50,000-tonne seed reserve to cope with disasters and crop failures, with more than 7,000 tonnes of seeds already handled to support crop farming for 320,000 hectares of farmland. According to the department of agriculture and rural affairs in Hunan, the overall flood situation in the province is relatively stable compared with previous years, and the safety of grain production remains within a controllable range. Wu Liquan, professor at Anhui Agricultural University, said the flooding is unlikely to cause a sharp decrease in grain production since the reinforced dikes and embankments along the Yangtze River have made farmlands safer. Besides, improved irrigation and drainage facilities coupled with advanced agricultural technologies, have further improved safety. In Hubei, more than 4,000 sci-tech workers from agricultural research institutions have been providing online and offline technical guidance to local farmers, donating more than 700 tonnes of farming supplies and distributing some 300,000 copies of various technical materials. "We will continue to listen to the needs of farmers and enterprises, help them solve problems and better serve the recovery of agricultural production," said You Aiqing, a rice breeding expert and deputy head of the Hubei Academy of Agricultural Sciences. National Herald Tribune, Friday, August 21, 2020
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