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Disasters must not be windfalls for the greedy

China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-28 07:47

POLICE IN SUIDE COUNTY in Northwest China's Shaanxi province have banned locals from collecting unattended goods after torrential rain caused flooding over the past few days. Beijing News commented on Thursday:

That the local government allocated 250 million yuan ($37 million) for flood control and rescue work and launched a Level 2 emergency response, to some extent, indicates the floods came faster than expected.

It is a shame that some Suide residents chose to take advantage of that and the evacuation of 20,000 people, including many shop owners, to loot the flooded stores.

The looters have no reason to take the things that do not belong to them, not least when they themselves could well fall victim to probably the worst flooding seen in the province for decades. Their wrongdoings must be stopped and they should be held criminally accountable despite the emergency situation.

Some might be tempted to loot unattended shops if there is no one to stop them when a natural disaster strikes. But what they are doing is theft. Looters also risk hampering flood control efforts and endangering public security if they steal emergency supplies and distract the local police from the urgent task of evacuating affected residents and rescuing those in danger.

During previous disasters, rescue and relief efforts have been overshadowed by some ignorant, insatiable people, who saw the misfortune of others as the opportunity to pick up "windfalls". It is a relief that the flood control missions are being carried out smoothly in the province, but those involved in looting will have to pay the price for breaking the law.

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