Chinese Premier stresses the importance of social assistance amid COVID-19 and flooding
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits the flood-stricken area in Chongqing, southwest China, August 20, 2020. /Xinhua

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits the flood-stricken area in Chongqing, southwest China, August 20, 2020. /Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday underlined the importance of the country's social assistance work to ensure the well-being of fragile groups, one day after the State Council published a directive focused on building a tiered and classified social assistance system in about two years.

Li said social assistance is the bottom institutional arrangement for fragile groups, which relates to their basic livelihood and reflects the love and humanity of the society, so local authorities and relevant departments should put themselves in the shoes of those in difficulties by paying close attention to the implementation of all social assistance policies and measures, timely getting to know the needs and difficulties of the public and unblocking assistance channels.

During the pandemic and the flood season, Li urged local departments to further improve their efforts to help those affected by COVID-19 and the floods, ensuring basic living standards of low-income groups.

China's central and local governments have allocated about 100 billion yuan (about 14.5 billion U.S. dollars) for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction, and requested to directly transfer the funds to flood-stricken areas, Li said on a State Council executive meeting on Wednesday.

He added that the central government will increase the current subsidy of 20,000 yuan (about 2,900 dollars) per household by 5,000 yuan (about 726 dollars) for those with their houses collapsed or damaged during the floods.

In addition, in provinces where streets, bridges and water conservancy facilities have been damaged or ruined, local government should speed up reconstruction and helping local people with job positions at those reconstruction projects.

"During the current flood season, many migrant workers traveled back to their hometown for disaster relief, and it will be very difficult for some of them to return to their previous jobs," Li said, adding that "we need to create jobs for them by conducting post-disaster reconstruction projects."