By English Edition Staff
Published: 2008-05-21

Transportation interruption, risks arising from dams and landslide-dammed lakes in disaster areas, and potential spread of contagious diseases are among the major problems faced by the ongoing earthquake relief work in Sichuan.

The Chinese government summed up the above problems in a State Council meeting chaired by Premiere Wen Jiabao on May 21.

In a statement released on the Chinese government website, it also stated that resolving the basic necessities of quake victims, taking care of children orphaned by the quake and the aged left alone, were other major difficulties ahead.

On further measures needed for earthquake relief work, the meeting outlined three broad areas. One was to spare no efforts in relief work, including that of preventing a potential second wave of disaster arising from endangered dams, hydropower stations and landslide-dammed lakes.

In fact, the day earlier, Chinese Premiere Wen Jiabao had already urged Water Resources Ministry to send experts to dams and reservoirs in quake-hit areas for 24-hour patrol. The directive was issued following weather forecast of heavy rain there in the next 48 hours.

The second relief measure was to map out rebuilding strategies. The Central Government had committed 70 billion yuan as the initial fund for rebuilding, and pledged to set up a strict supervision mechanism to monitor donations collected for quake victims.

Third was to maintain stable economic development through strengthening of agriculture production and curbing inflation.

In analyzing China's economic outlook, the meeting concluded that the Sichuan earthquake, apart from causing severe economic damages in disaster-hit areas, had also exerted more uncertainties into the overall running of the Chinese economy. 

However, the statement said the overall economic situation would remain stable and industrial production would be steady. It also projected a better summer harvest for grains, edible oil and pork.

However, it admitted that pressure from rising prices persisted, adding tight supply of coal, electricity and fuel exerted pressure on the government financial spending.