As flood waters started to recede, the Chinese authorities began to count the cost of almost four months of devastating floods and draw up a plan to help millions get back on their feet.
In northeastern China, water levels in the swollen Songhua and Nenjiang rivers were still high but easing, allowing authorities to focus on cleaning up efforts after the worst flooding since 1954. Prime minister Zhu Rongji issued special orders on delivering relief supplies, especially clothing and shelter, to million of evacuees and people left homeless in the provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin as well as Inner Mongolia.
Thirty-five medical teams have been dispatched to the Jalaid area to treat 25,000 sick farmers and herdsmen. Nearly half of the 11,000 sq km country was inundated, destroying more than 10,000 homes. Across the country, nearly 20,000 medical teams with 130,000 staff members are working to prevent outbreak of epidemics. Health minister Shang Wenkang warned against outbreak of epidemics in the coming months. Already, flood victims living in unsanitary conditions have been hit by water-borne diseases.
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