BEIJING, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The State Council, China's Cabinet, urged local governments Wednesday to step up efforts to combat floods as the nation faces severe weather conditions in several regions.
The State Council made the appeal at its executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.
"The situation is grave," the State Council concluded at the meeting, noting that water levels on the Yangtze River, the nation's longest river, and on the Huaihe River and Taihu Lake are over their respective warning levels.
The arrival of the typhoon season has added to problems, according to the State Council.
Floods in China this summer have left hundreds dead and forced tens of thousands to relocate.
The State Council stressed at the meeting local governments should attach great importance to flood control and protect the public and their property.
The State Council also urged the enhancement of monitoring and forecasting of rains, floods and geological disasters.
Local governments must ensure the safety of major rivers, large- and medium-sized reservoirs and key infrastructure facilities, the State Council said.
The State Council pledged to provide greater support to local governments in their fight against the floods.
The State Council vowed to enforce flood control accountability and to severely punish those whose performance is lax.
Although major rivers are well dredged, water resource projects along China's small- and medium-sized rivers have relatively weak flood control capabilities, according to the State Council.