WUHAN, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has ordered local governments to adopt scientific measures to prepare well for "more serious floods and disasters" as some of the country's major rivers saw water levels surpass their warning levels.
Wen said China was at a "crucial stage" for flood control during an inspection tour in central China's Hubei Province that began July 23.
The upper reaches of the Yangtze, the nation's longest river, have seen the highest flood peak since 1987, and water levels on its middle and lower reaches were over the warning levels for the first time since 2003.
Wen ordered local governments to step up patrols and guard against potential risks to ensure the safety of major rivers, large and medium-sized reservoirs and key infrastructure facilities.
He called for the scientific use of major flood control projects including the Three Gorges Dam and the Danjiangkou reservoir to coordinate water volumes in the upper and lower reaches of rivers.
Local authorities should strengthen monitoring and prevention of geological disasters such as landslides and mud flow, and relocate affected residents to avoid casualties, he said.
He also urged local governments to ensure daily necessities for the affected people and to strive to restore normal life and production at an early date.
Local governments should speed up construction of embankments of small and medium-sized rivers and consolidate small reservoirs to enhance their flood control capabilities, he said.
Local Communist Party of China (CPC) committees and governments must enforce flood control accountability and severely punish those whose performances were lax, he said.
Floods in China this year had left 742 people dead and 367 missing as of Friday, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.