BEIJING, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government on Monday upgraded its emergency response level to cope with flooding in northeast Liaoning Province.
The National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a press release that they have raised the emergency response level from IV to III as of 10 a.m. Monday after at least 54 people were killed and another 97 went missing in the province hit by heavy rains and floods.
Under a level III response, the second-lowest of the four response levels, disaster relief authorities should send a work team to the disaster zone within 24 hours and allocate relief materials within 48 hours if losses are considered relatively extensive.
The ministry has dispatched vice minister Jiang Li to lead a work team to the disaster-hit area and guide relief efforts.
As of 10 a.m. Monday, a total of 1.8 million people in 30 counties in Liaoning Province have been affected and 162,000 have been evacuated from flooded areas.
More than 6,100 buildings have collapsed and the total direct economic loss is around 8.5 billion yuan(1.39 billion U.S. dollars), according to the ministry.
The provincial government of Liaoning has allocated 140 million yuan in disaster relief funds and sent tents and blankets to help people endure the floods.