Cash to help disaster-hit people through winter

BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- China plans to allocate 7.3 billion yuan (1.19 billion U.S. dollars) in relief funds to help people in disaster-hit regions through the winter.

The first batch of 5.84 billion yuan has been sent to affected regions, Xinhua learnt on Tuesday from a teleconference held by the ministries of civil affairs and finance.

More natural disasters, such as flooding, droughts, earthquakes and typhoons hit China in 2013. The disasters caused more losses than last year, affecting people's access to food, clothes and heating services, Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Jiang Li said at the conference.

The ministry urged more funds to support regions hit hard by disasters, old revolutionary base areas, ethnic minority regions, as well as border and poor areas, according to a statement released after the conference.

It also ordered "funds must reach the county level within a month and reach individuals within six weeks," the statement said, adding that the allocation process should be transparent and fair, and supervision and management of relief funds should be strengthened.

Housing reconstruction in disaster-hit regions should be completed before the Spring Festival which falls on Jan. 31, it said.