OREANDA-NEWS.  February 06, 2012. China aims to create emergency teams for flood control and drought relief in the coming five years to provide timely help when needed, a government official said Thursday.

Chen Lei, minister of water resources, said at a conference that the country's ability to fight floods and droughts cannot meet the requirements of a rapidly developing society, as people living in rural areas have swarmed to cities for work, leaving some regions short-handed when disasters hit.

The profesional relief teams already in existence face problems such as a lack of staff and equipment, Chen said.

To improve the situation, China has pledged to set up emergency teams at multiple levels to allow small towns and villages to receive help when floods and other disasters occur, Chen said.

He cited the drought-prone Hunan province as an example. The province has improved its emergency response mechanism in recent years and set up 124 service teams at the county level, which has greatly facilitated relief work in the region, Chen said.