BEIJING/BAODING, Hebei, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday visited the areas affected by floods this summer in Beijing and Hebei Province.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, called for continuous efforts in post-flood reconstruction to ensure that local people could lead comfortable lives and spend a warm winter.
Xi stressed upholding a people-centered approach and called for redoubled efforts to address safety loopholes and strengthen weak links.
He urged accelerated progress in improving the systems of flood prevention projects and emergency management, and continuous enhancement of disaster prevention, mitigation, and relief capabilities.
In late July and early August, Beijing, Hebei, and several other parts of China were hit by floods and geological disasters caused by extreme rainfall, resulting in heavy casualties.
Xi has always been concerned about flood-affected people and has instructed relevant authorities multiple times to ensure the safety of people’s lives and property, as well as to restore normalcy in work and life in disaster-hit regions.
In early September, Xi visited flood-affected villagers in Shangzhi City, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province. As winter approaches in northern China, Xi visited flood-hit residents in Beijing and Hebei and inspected post-disaster reconstruction work.
On Friday morning, Xi inspected a water diversion project on the Yongding River in Beijing’s Mentougou District. He pointed out that mountainous areas in districts such as Mentougou and Fangshan are key areas in the city’s flood control efforts.
Relevant efforts should focus on both building reservoirs and other infrastructure, making good use of them, and improving the flood-resistant standards of roads and houses in the mountainous areas, he added.
Xi then visited a school that served as a temporary shelter and residence for disaster control and relief workers during the flood season. He walked into a classroom where students shared their experiences and feelings when facing the disaster.
Through the joint efforts of all parties, all schools in disaster-hit regions managed to reopen on schedule, Xi said, adding that it was reassuring and gratifying to see the students’ smiling faces.
He urged the school to carry out safety education to enhance students’ safety awareness and emergency response abilities.
On the school playground, Xi expressed condolences to the family members of those who sacrificed their lives for public service during the floods and extended his regards to representatives of those who participated in flood prevention and disaster relief, including grassroots Party members and officials, firefighters, emergency rescue personnel, and volunteers.
The fallen heroes should always be remembered, their heroic deeds should be promoted, and their bereaved families should be well-supported, Xi said.
Xi then visited the village of Shuiyuzui to learn about infrastructure restoration and improvement efforts.
At the home of villager Li Meng, Xi asked detailed questions about house damage, repair expenditure, heating conditions, and others.
Noting that the winter season is long in northern China, and it is particularly cold in the mountainous areas, Xi stressed that heating must be ensured in each household to keep the residents warm in winter.
When leaving the village, Xi told the residents that he is concerned about people in the flood-affected areas. The CPC is a party that serves the people and always puts the people above everything else, and the party will do its utmost in disaster relief as well as post-disaster reconstruction, he said.
In the city of Zhuozhou, which was hit by extreme floods, the normal order of production and life has been resumed. On Friday afternoon, Xi visited an urban residential community there and called for all sorts of measures to help the affected residents, enterprises, and businesses overcome the difficulties.
Disaster prevention and mitigation should be well studied and planned in urban restoration and reconstruction, flood channels and flood discharge and detention areas should be in place, and infrastructure such as the drainage network should be updated, according to Xi.
He then visited resident Dong Caiying’s home and extended greetings. In response to Xi’s inquiries about the conditions of her home, Dong said that, as cleaning and renovation were completed, she had already returned to live in the apartment.
Xi noted that the top priority in post-disaster restoration and reconstruction in urban areas is the resumption of people’s everyday life, urging joint efforts from both professionals and volunteers.
Upon leaving the community, Xi told residents that when the severe disaster struck Zhuozhou, he closely followed the situation every day and was worried about the locals.
Xi said he was reassured seeing today that municipal public service facilities have resumed operation and people’s lives have returned to normal.
Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee, people will surely embrace better lives as long as they work as one, Xi said, calling on primary-level Party organizations and officials to play their part in post-disaster restoration and reconstruction.
During his visit to Wanquanzhuang Village, where all 311 households were impacted by the floods this year, Xi walked into construction sites for house rebuilding and visited the renovated house of villager Yang Peiran.
At Yang’s home, Xi learned about the family’s income, renovation expenses, and the recovery of their production.
The repair and reinforcement of the houses have been basically completed, but reconstruction remains the most challenging task, Xi said, urging Party committees and governments at various levels to pay special attention to and offer appropriate resettlement to those facing housing difficulties.
When bidding farewell to the villagers, Xi extended his sympathy to them over their losses and assured them that a range of measures are being taken to advance post-flood recovery and reconstruction.
Xi then walked into a nearby farmland to inspect the growth of crops.
Agriculture bears on the country’s food security, Xi said, calling for continued efforts to restore the destroyed farmland and agricultural facilities and strive for a good harvest next year.
When inspecting the flood control project along a local river, Xi stressed advancing the development of the flood prevention project system in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
All parties involved in this summer’s flood relief campaigns jointly forged a strong defense against the natural disaster and protected the homeland, fully showcasing the political strength of the Party and the country, he said.
In the face of the once-in-a-century floods, China’s effective responses have minimized the damages, Xi said.
The central government recently decided to issue an additional 1 trillion yuan (about 139.3 billion U.S. dollars) in government bonds to support reconstruction projects and disaster-response capacity building, he said, stressing efforts to make these projects people-centered, excellent in quality, and integrity-based.
Cai Qi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee, accompanied Xi on the inspection tour.