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Flood-hit warehouses press ahead with recovery

Updated: Oct 10, 2023 By ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang China Daily Print
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Workers pack books at a book warehouse in Zhuozhou, Hebei province, on Sept 21. ZHANG RONGBIN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Book warehouses and distributors in Zhuozhou, Hebei province, badly hit by heavy flooding in August have successfully resumed the majority of normal operations.

Zhuozhou, a county-level city about 70 kilometers southwest of Beijing, is a major hub in northern China for book sales and logistics, and boasts a large number of book warehouses.

In August, many of the warehouses were severely flooded with millions of books soaked by water.

After the disaster, logistics enterprises and the local government made major efforts to help the book industry recover and resume normal operations as soon as possible.

At Jiayu Cultural Book Industrial Park in Matou town, which is home to more than 120 companies involved in the book industry including publishers and traders, a bustling atmosphere has returned.

"We are now in full operation again, with the full range of books being sent to different parts of the country every day," Han Biao, the general manager of Beijing Southwest Logistics Center's Zhuozhou Branch, was quoted as saying by Baoding Daily.

According to Han, the company resumed normal operations on Aug 16 to try and ensure that various textbooks were delivered in time ahead of the fall school semester.

To reduce the pressure placed on book companies by the flooding disaster, the park has rolled out a series of measures to help them recover in a timely manner.

The rent for warehouses affected by floods, for example, will be waived for six months. In addition, rent will be reduced or waived over the next three years for some companies, said Zhou Miao, who is in charge of the park.

More than 10,000 square meters of spare warehouse space at the park will also be provided free of charge for a period to book companies that lost their warehouses in the floods. "At present, the return rate of the book enterprises in the park after the disaster has reached 96 percent, all of which have resumed normal operations," Zhou said.

As of Sept 20, 182 book-related businesses out of 213 that were affected by the floods have resumed normal operations in Zhuozhou, the city's press and publication bureau said on Sept 21.

The government has also organized a symposium on cooperation between local banks and book companies.

As of Sept 14, six companies had successfully borrowed 57 million yuan ($7.8 million) to spend on their recovery, the bureau said. About 10 million yuan in relief funds from central and provincial government agencies was also distributed to flood-hit companies.

"All of these different parties are trying their best. We have confidence we can quickly recover from the disaster and revitalize the industry," Zhou said.

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