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Xi calling for more effort to curb disasters
By:China Daily
update:April 01,2020

Armed police forces work to put out a blaze at Lushan Mountain in Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in Southwest China's Sichuan province, on March 31, 2020. (Photo by Li Jieyi/for chinadaily.com.cn)
 
Instruction comes as 19 die fighting blaze in Sichuan, flood season approaches
 
April 1,2020 -- President Xi Jinping called on Tuesday for resolute efforts to curb the momentum of accidents and disasters in an instruction regarding the forest fire in Xichang, Sichuan province, which killed 19 people and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
 
Xi, who also is general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said local authorities must swiftly dispatch forces to respond with sound measures, spare no effort in firefighting while ensuring the safety of firefighters and prevent secondary disasters.
 
Xi said a number of provinces, including Sichuan, Yunnan, Fujian and Hunan, have recently seen successive forest fires and accidents.
 
The approach of Tomb Sweeping Day on Saturday and the spring flood season could give rise to new fires and floods, which must be given a high degree of attention, he said.
 
Xi underlined the importance of thoroughly troubleshooting various potential hazards such as fires, mudslides and work safety accidents, ensuring that various parties can assume their responsibilities and making all-out efforts to protect lives and property.

 
A helicopter sprays water to put out a forest fire in Xichang, Southwest China's Sichuan province, on March 31, 2020. [Photo by Zhong Yuan/chinadaily.com.cn]
 
Premier Li Keqiang said in an instruction that authorities must spare no effort to treat the injured and extinguish the forest fire with effective measures.
 
He added that lessons must be drawn from the multiple recent forest fires so that potential hazards can be prevented and monitoring and early warning can be strengthened.
 
The raging forest fire, which started at around 4 pm on Monday at Jingjiu township in Xichang, killed 18 firefighters and a local guide and injured three other firefighters. They were on their way to fight the fire on the city's Lushan Mountain when a sudden change in wind speed and direction surrounded the group with flames, officials said the survivors told them.
 
As of early Tuesday, the blaze covered an area of around 1,000 hectares.
 
At 1:30 am on Tuesday, the group was reported missing. A search and rescue operation was ordered, and at about 7 am on Tuesday, three firefighters were found alive and transported to a hospital, where they were reported in stable condition, officials said. The bodies of the others also were found.
 
The fire also forced the evacuation of over 1,200, officials said.

 
A fleet of cars carrying 19 bodies of those who died fighting the fire drive through downtown Xichang, Southwest China's Sichuan province, on March 31, 2020. [Photo by Liu Zhongjun/China News Service]
 
Xichang officials said the blaze started on a farm before strong winds spread the flames to Lushan Mountain, turning it into a fire that people in downtown Xichang could see and smell, said Song Ming, a resident of the city.
 
A total of 2,044 people were involved in fighting the fire, which was still burning late on Tuesday. To make way for vehicles heading toward the wildfire, emergency traffic controls were placed on some roads.
 
In the early hours of Tuesday, flames were approaching the walls of the city's largest general merchandise warehouse. Firefighters doused the dry grass with water and felled pine trees near the warehouse, official said.
 
By early Tuesday, eight fire-rescue teams equipped with 129 firetrucks, 556 firefighters and four water tanker trucks had arrived in Xichang from other parts of Sichuan.
 
On Monday afternoon, another forest fire erupted in Binchuan county in Sichuan's neighboring Yunnan province, where it had consumed 15 hectares and also was still burning late on Tuesday. The firefighting operation in Yunnan involved 652 people.
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