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Govt to support post-flood reconstruction with 100b yuan

Updated: Aug 27,2020 04:35 PM

Central and local fiscal funds will contribute some 100 billion yuan ($14.53 billion) to post-flood recovery and reconstruction efforts through a variety of channels.

The decision was unveiled at the State Council executive meeting on Aug 26 chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

“Efforts should be made to establish a mechanism channeling funds directly to the disaster-stricken areas and related programs for rapid post-disaster reconstruction and recovery of production and people’s livelihoods,” the Premier said.

Work on flood prevention, disaster relief

This year has witnessed unprecedented heavy rains and severe floods across large parts of China, especially in basin areas of the Yangtze River and Huaihe River, causing huge economic losses, Premier Li said.

Putting people’s lives first, government departments have performed robust and organized rescue tasks, such as science-based flood control operations and timely relocation of affected residents, the Premier said, noting the fewer casualties than in previous years.

As the major flood season has not ended yet, flood control and disaster relief remains a pressing priority, the Premier said, calling for coordinated preparedness for the floods and possible typhoons in South and North China.

The Premier stressed efforts to settle and aid affected people, and ensure schools reopen as scheduled in areas hit by floods, with regular epidemic prevention measures in place.

He also urged enhanced monitoring and patrols in key flood-prone areas to secure the lives of the people and minimize property losses.

The meeting introduced an additional central fiscal subsidy of 5,000 yuan to each family, on top of the existing 20,000 yuan each is eligible for, covering collapsed and severely damaged houses in provinces hit hard by floods.

The Premier required that central disaster relief funds for winter and spring tilt toward regions badly hit by disasters and those in deep poverty.

Compensations linked to use of national flood detention areas should arrive as soon as possible, meeting the set upper limit, he added.

Timely reconstruction to restart

Premier Li required that local authorities should fulfill their responsibilities, resuming post-disaster reconstruction with immediate effect.

"We're right now at a critical juncture for rebuilding," the Premier said. "We can't afford to miss out on it, or else the aftermath will be more damaging."

Referring to his inspection in Ciqikou, Chongqing municipality, he said, "Known as a consumption hub, Ciqikou suffered severe damage, as the commercial streets were waterlogged under more than 1 meter. Businesses, which just revived after the COVID-19 outbreak, then got hit by the unexpected floods."

Disaster-stricken cities should support merchants with operation resumption. And severely affected rural areas should be supported in production resumption of farmland and greenhouse cultivation, husbandry, with supplies of seeds and other materials, to ensure harvest this year, Premier Li said.

Plan to help migrant workers secure jobs at home

Construction of flood-damaged projects will work for effective investment expansion and employment increase, the Premier said.

He required that construction of flood-damaged projects should forge ahead, and regional authorities are supported to do rush repairs on roads, bridges, small and medium-sized water conservancies, among others. And the construction of urban flood prevention facilities should be promoted, with effective investment seeing further expansion.

Departments concerned should bring the work-for-welfare plan into full play, which will help more migrant workers secure jobs at home, as they are hindered by the floods from going back to work, the Premier added.

Premier Li required that long-lasting significant water conservancies should emerge,  with solutions to problems spotlighted by the floods.

Mechanism stressed to directly channel funds to people in flood-hit areas

The meeting confirmed that the central government will roll out measures to further provide financial support to the disaster-stricken areas, following the funding that is already in place.

During this year and next, when the 16 billion yuan (about $2.32 billion) in financial support for the construction of high-standard farmland is to be allocated, the flood-hit areas should be considered before other places.

This year, there will be a total of 10 billion yuan (about $1.45 billion) in natural disaster control subsidies to support recovery and reconstruction in the disaster-stricken provinces, and 10 billion yuan in vehicle purchase tax funds to help those provinces build roads. Also, within the central budget, financial support for reconstruction projects will be enhanced.

The anti-virus treasury bonds, local government special bonds, and the special transfer payment fund can be utilized for reconstruction.

A total of 15 billion yuan (about $2.18 billion) from China’s central reserve will be used as needed.

Premier Li stressed the mechanism to directly channel the supporting funds to the flood-hit areas and flood relief projects, and the guarantee of land use.

The Premier also pushed for specific measures to guide State-owned financial institutions and rural credit cooperatives to increase their support for post-disaster recovery of protected agriculture.

“As autumn approaches, the fiscal and financial support must be for people’s needs and benefits as soon as possible, for which they should go in line with more streamlined administration and improved government services,” the Premier said.