HAIKOU, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Moldy bread that was sent to typhoon-hit villagers in Hainan has been sealed and sent away for analysis, authorities told a press conference on Monday.
Internet user "Gangfeng" wrote in his blog on Sunday that more than 200 villagers from Rammasun-hit Baoxiao Village of Wengtian Township, Wenchang City, had received two boxes of moldy bread from the local government.
The bread, which had a six-month shelf life, was produced by a company in Fujian Province on July 1.
"Why is it moldy after only 20 days? Who is the relief supply purchaser of the government?" asked "Gangfeng".
At the press conference, Miao Jianzhong, head of the provincial civil affairs authorities, confirmed the bread had been sent for investigation.
He said those involved would be punished and that investigation results would be made public.
"We are sorry and apologize to disaster-hit residents. The civil affairs department should take responsibility," Miao said.
Rammasun, the strongest typhoon to hit south China in four decades, brought gales, downpours and floods to a number of southern provinces, affecting more than 8 million people. The death toll had increased to 33 as of Monday.
The moldy bread scandal came as the Ministry of Civil Affairs announced on Monday that it is working on a national plan for reserves of disaster relief materials.
The ministry acknowledged on its Weibo account, a Twitter-like social networking service, persistent problems such as insufficient reserves and outdated management methods were hampering disaster relief efforts.
The account promised to build a reserve network for disaster relief materials that uses uniform standards and covers the entire nation.