CADRES and civil servants in areas hard hit by flooding have been asked to make donations to the relief effort. And while several provinces have sent Beijing urgent requests for money, the central Government has urged the localities to find their own solutions. Sources in the central province of Hunan said officials had been obliged to make donations equivalent to at least one month's salary. Cadres with the rank of head of department or bureau have been urged to contribute 500 yuan (HK$465) per person; those with the rank of section chief, 300 yuan; and ordinary cadres 100 to 150 yuan. Individual officials are under pressure to give more. Readiness to make personal sacrifice to help relief work is cited as the mark of a good cadre and model Communist Party member. Civil servants in other provinces, particularly those in the west, have been told to be patient with delayed payments of salaries owing to the flood. 'A top priority of the central Government is to ensure that all schools can open in September,' a source said. 'In many areas, schools have been destroyed and desks and other equipment swept away. And education funds have been diverted for flood relief.' The other priority is to ensure that local governments can honour financial commitments to foreign companies that have signed joint-venture contracts with enterprises under their jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the central Government has been inundated with requests for emergency aid. But during a trip to flood-ravaged Hebei province last week, premier Li Peng hinted that little money would be forthcoming from Beijing. The Chinese media yesterday quoted Mr Li as urging local cadres to stick to the spirit of 'self-reliance, plain living and hard struggle'. He told officials and citizens to develop the spirit of Tangshan, a reference to how the earthquake-damaged city rebuilt itself largely through its own efforts. Beijing has also been asked to arbitrate in disputes between provinces over the responsibility for losses. Hunan has blamed provincial authorities in Hubei for diverting flood waters southwards in a bid to save industrial centres such as Wuhan. It is understood that the central Government has so far not taken any stand in such disputes. To ensure stability in the run-up to the party Central Committee plenum next month, Beijing has been slow to punish officials held responsible for the flooding through failure to repair irrigation and other water works.