BEIJING, Aug. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Humanitarian relief and disaster relief have become increasingly important missions for Chinese army forces domestically.
Military medics were seen in the war against coronavirus earlier in the year. As regions in southern China entered their rainy season in June, the armed forces have been at the forefront of the battle against natural disasters, evacuating civilians, reinforcing embankments, and clearing out debris.
In July, the Ministry of Water Resources raised the country’s emergency response for flood control to Level II, the second-highest in the response system.
Over the past two months, the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Armed Police Force have dispatched more than 1.2 million soldiers in flood control missions in 17 provincial-level regions.
These soldiers have helped evacuate more than 170,000 people, and reinforced embankments of more than 900 kilometers.
“The PLA should always be part of the people, work for their interests, maintain close ties and share good and bad times with them,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a speech at the ceremony marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the PLA on August 1, 2017.
“The people’s army goes wherever there are enemies, and wherever there is danger,” he said.
While continuing his close inspection of flood response work in central China’s Anhui Province, Xi hailed “significant progress” made by the military in disaster relief work.
Speaking to military officers on Thursday, the Chinese president, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said the armed forces have played an important part as commandos (against floods) at this critical time.
Xi called on efforts to continue rescue operations while helping out in the post-disaster reconstruction.
“We must guard people’s safety, physically and monetarily,” he said.
China frequently suffers from natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and flood-triggered landslides.
The nontraditional military functions including humanitarian and disaster relief have been enhanced under Xi’s leadership, and have helped the Chinese military win wide support from the people.
On China’s Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo, soldiers’ efforts in responding to floods have been accompanied by outpouring goodwill and pride. Videos showing local people providing food for soldiers as they completed flood control missions in Anhui and Jiangxi have been widely shared.