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|Wednesday, November 07, 2001, updated at 15:57(GMT+8)|
Great Progress Made in Anti-Fire Campaign to Guarantee Safer LifeChina has made remarkable progress in a nation-wide anti-fire campaign, which has greatly reduced the number of major fires and removed thousands of hidden perils in public places across the country, said officials at a press conference in Beijing Tuesday.
Co-organized by 11 ministries and commissions, including the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Education and State Economic and Trade Commission, the five-month campaign has produced great achievements, said Vice-Construction Minister Zheng Yijun.
Efforts made to battle fireFrom May to October, a total of 35,961 investigative groups were dispatched to conduct spot checks on 9,400,000 enterprises nationwide, according to Zheng.
"The spot checking has helped eradicate millions of hidden perils,'' Zheng said. "For example, the nation has outlawed more than 10,000 illegal recreation centers and suspended another 250,000 operations that could not meet the demands of fire fighting.''
"The campaign and anti-fire survey on public places will provide a basis for further supervision and a draft of new fire-fighting laws and regulations in the future,'' said Zheng.
From January to September, 158,744 fires took place in China, killing 1,655 people and injuring 2,805 others, direct property damage topped 1.01 billion yuan (US$122 million), the vice-minister disclosed.
Meanwhile, the number of devastating fires, in which there are 10 deaths or more has decreased.
As of November 5, there were 26 large fires, claiming 57 lives, injuring 37 and 50 million yuan (US$6.1 million) of direct property was lost.
These figures declined by 49 percent, 74 percent, 79.9 percent and 67.7 percent, respectively compared with the same period of last year, Zheng said.
China attaches great importance to fire fightingChina has always placed top priority on fire fighting and safeguarding the safety of public health and safety, said Yang Huanning, vice-minister of MPS.
President Jiang Zemin made an important address on fire fighting in November, 1996, calling for all-out prevention efforts, and since then an organized system of laws and regulations on fire fighting has taken shape.
China has built 586 fire stations and 210,000 water hydrants and purchased 3,800 fire-fighting vehicles over the last five years, Yang noted.
Nevertheless, many obstacles are still ahead which impede the effort to fight fires, primarily due to loopholes in the anti-fire laws and the lagging development of the fire fighting industry, which has taken a backseat to other social and economic problems, according to Yang.
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