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Chinese leaders urge all-out efforts to save flood victims

NANCHANG, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday called for all-out efforts to combat floods and save the lives after a dike collapsed amid heavy rains in east China's Jiangxi Province.

Hu and Wen stressed that ensuring people's safety was top priority and called on rescuers to work hard to control the flood, according to the Jiangxi Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

Hu also ordered 800 soldiers from the Nanjing Military Zone to help with the rescue work in Fuzhou City of Jiangxi, where the Fuhe River burst its bank Monday evening, the headquarters said.

More than 68,000 people had been relocated to safety by Tuesday morning, the headquarters said. No casualties had been reported in the city so far.

The headquarters have established 15 relocation areas with an accommodation capacity of about 30,000 people. Authorities in Fuzhou City have set up 17 make-shift shelters at stadiums and local schools for flood victims.

The dike at the Changkai section of the Fuhe River burst at 18:30 Monday and threatened the safety and property of about 100,000 people living in the area.

The opening in the dike had expanded to 400 meters at around 7:00 a.m. Tuesday.

More than 10,000 soldiers and civilians had been mobilized by the provincial government for rescue and relief work.

Jiangxi's civil affairs department said people in the affected areas were desperately in need of tents and food but transport of relief materials had been delayed as parts of the road linking Fuzhou with the provincial capital city of Nanchang were badly flooded.

As part of the emergency response, the provincial government had sent 800 boxes of disinfectants and eight trucks of bottled water and instant noodles and more relief materials were on the way, the headquarters said.

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