Beijing vows no storm death toll cover-up

Updated: 2012-07-25 10:51


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Beijing has vowed to be honest about the casualty figures from the weekend's devastating storms amid mounting skepticism about the true toll of the disaster.

A government official said Tuesday the true picture of the deadly storms, which left 37 people dead and tens of thousands homeless, will not be concealed from the public.

The city suffered the worst rain in six decades over Saturday and Sunday and many people have questioned the official death toll.

Wang Hui, director of the Information Office of Beijing Municipal Government, told a news conference they understood the importance of information transparency following the 2003 SARS cover up.

She added that the death toll had not risen because some bodies are yet to be identified.

According to their official micro blog early Tuesday evening, 1.9 million are affected by the rain, 77,325 have been relocated, and the government has allocated a 100 million yuan disaster relief fund. But it made no mention of casualty figures.

In Fanshang, the district hardest hit, the number of casualties is still being counted. Qi Hong, district chief, said on Tuesday afternoon they had suffered "great loss".

Many officials, including former health minister Zhang Wenkang, resigned or were sacked due to cover-up of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome scandal that killed more than 5,000 on the Chinese mainland in 2003.

More heavy rain is expected to hit the capital in the coming days, which could hamper rescue efforts and test the city's emergency planning once again.