CHINA / National

Ministry calls for school safety
By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-03 05:30

After a tornado killed two school pupils and injured 46 others on Thursday, schools across the country have been urged to draw up safety plans with land and resource authorities and weather bureaus.

Schools should examine buildings and grounds for "geological hazards," with the help of local land and resources authorities, the Ministry of Education said in a notice issued on Saturday.

And schools should have better contact with weather bureaus to ensure they receive early warning when typhoons or tornadoes are heading their way, the ministry urged.

The notice comes in the wake of the devastation wreaked by a tornado which ripped through a village school in Sixian County, East China's Anhui Province, early on Thursday morning.

Fourteen-year-old Zhu Jiawei and 13-year-old Bu Haicheng were killed instantly when their classrooms collapsed; 44 other pupils and two teachers were injured.

Last night two students were still in a critical condition, but the rest have been stabilized, according to the local government.

The ministry reiterated in its notice that "schools must stop using classrooms with lurking dangers and should even suspend classes if necessary."

School principals and education bureau directors must be held responsible for heavy casualties, the notice added.

Last June, a flash flood swept through the town of Shalan in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, inundating a one-storey primary school, and killing 117 people, 105 of them school children.

Ten people found responsible for the tragedy, including the local Party and police chiefs, in March received disciplinary sanctions or one-year sentences for negligence in offering timely rescue.

With the summer vacation drawing near, the ministry also reminded schools that safety education is mandatory.
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