BEIJING, May 12 (Xinhua) -- On China's first "Disaster Prevention and Reduction Day" on Tuesday, Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu called for enhancing public awareness of disaster reduction.
Tuesday also marked the first anniversary of the massive Wenchuan earthquake that rocked southwestern Sichuan Province on May 12 last year and claimed more than 69,000 lives, leaving nearly 18,000 missing.
Hui, also director of the National Commission for Disaster Reduction (NCDR), told a forum on disaster prevention and reduction that "efforts should be made to strengthen the foundation of disaster reduction and step up disaster monitoring, relief and reconstruction so as to create sound conditions for social stability."
Approved by the State Council, or Cabinet, the NCDR, Ministry of Civil Affairs, China Earthquake Administration and Beijing Municipal Government jointly staged an emergency drill Tuesday in Beijing's Haidian District, participated in by students and some members of the public, in a simulated earthquake situation. They practiced evacuation, aid in the air and medical aid.
Hui said the country's disaster emergency and legal mechanism on disaster reduction is being constantly improved and the comprehensive reaction in disaster relief was getting better.
The emergency response system had played a key role in dealing with the 8-magnitude quake and snow disaster in southern China last year, as well as severe flooding, drought and typhoon, and greatly saved people's life and reduced economic loss, he said.
"However, the disaster reduction situation is still arduous as various natural disasters are frequent in China," Hui said.
He called for enhancing monitoring and early warning so as to quickly respond to disasters, consolidating various infrastructures and rural and urban constructions, bringing the army's disaster relief role to a full play and improving disaster relief capabilities to ensure stability of disaster-hit areas.
Efforts should be made to strengthen material and technological storage, public education and official training, he said.