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Armed forces help save 3.4 million people in two years
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09:05, August 01, 2008

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The People's Liberation Army (PLA) and People's Armed Police Forces (PAPF) evacuated more than 3.4 million people in their rescue and disaster-relief operations between 2004 and 2006, official figures have showed.

During the period, the PLA and PAPF dispatched more than 340,000 troops to take part in more than 2,800 emergency rescue and disaster-relief operations.

The government also mobilized about 130,000 troops, armed police and reservists to help with relief work after the 8.0-magnitude quake that struck Sichuan province on May 12.

Emergency rescue and disaster-relief operations is an important, stated mission of the PLA and the PAPF.

In the course of these operations, the PLA and PAPF mainly undertake the following tasks: Rescuing and evacuating disaster victims, eliminating or controlling major dangers and disasters, ensuring the safety of important areas, participating in the emergency rescue and transportation of targeted goods, conducting emergency repairs of roads and bridges, carrying out underwater and rescue operations under nuclear, biological and chemical conditions, controlling major epidemics, providing medical aid, and assisting local governments in disaster relief and post-disaster reconstruction.

In normal times, the PLA and PAPF also make a point of gathering information on disasters and dangers, set up a system of information exchanges with local governments, draw up rescue and relief plans, conduct rescue and relief training and exercises, and offer rescue and relief courses in military command colleges. In rescue and relief operations, PLA and PAPF troops receive orders from the joint military-civilian headquarters.

In June 2005, the State Council and the Central Military Commission promulgated the Regulations on Participation of the PLA in Emergency Rescue and Disaster Relief, prescribing the PLA's main tasks, such as coordination with local governments, limits of authority and procedures for employing troops, joint command with local authorities, preparations and readiness, and financial and material support for such operations.

At the end of 2006, the PLA donated 230 million yuan ($34 million) and more than 930,000 cotton-padded clothes and quilts to disaster- and poverty-stricken areas.

Source: China Daily

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