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Adviser urges set-up of emergency commission

CHINA should set up a national-level emergency response commission in addition to a catastrophe insurance system and a contingency fund to better prepare for major natural disasters, a political adviser said yesterday in Beijing.

The commission can involve Party and government leaders as well as military authorities, who can exercise unified management in emergencies, said Sun Yongfu, deputy head of the Committee for Economic Affairs of the country's top political advisory body.

A state-backed catastrophe insurance system should be formed, said Sun, also a former vice railway minister, in a speech to the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

He also recommended budgeting enough money every year for a special contingency fund to increase the government's financial strength in disaster relief.

"There are a lot of problems in our current emergency response mechanism," said Sun, who toured quake-hit Sichuan Province and other regions in September. "This includes poor monitoring and warning systems, unprofessional rescue staff and inadequate material support."

He also advised turning fire brigades into professional emergency rescue teams.


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