China bracing for more geological disasters

China bracing for more geological disasters

"China is facing a grave situation," Tian Tingshan, deputy director of the Centre for Geological Disaster Emergency Technical Guidance, was quoted by China Daily as saying Wednesday.

Geological disasters, including landslides and mudslides,  have become most damaging disasters in the country apart from big earthquakes, Tian added.

On June 14, the State Council issued a document calling for stronger efforts to prevent geological disasters.

"By 2020, a complete mechanism of evaluation, monitoring and early warning, prevention and emergency mechanisms for geological disasters should be established to basically eliminate the threat from large geological disaster hazards and markedly reduce casualties and property losses caused by such disasters," the document said.

Tian said experts have been sent to geological disaster-prone areas to help local governments to prevent and handle such disasters.

China has witnessed 329,000 geological disasters since 1998, which left 13,925 people dead or missing and caused property losses of over 61 billion yuan ($9.6 billion), the ministry's statistics state.

In 2010, 30,670 geological disasters left 2,246 people dead and 669 missing, with direct economic losses nearing 6.4 billion yuan.

Most parts of China are still witnessing floods in the rainy season, Tian said at a press conference, adding casualties and economic losses during the first five months of this year were lesser than in the corresponding period last year.

The Three Gorges reservoir area and some earthquake-stricken regions such as Wenchuan county in southwest China's Sichuan province will be the focus where experts stay and do monitoring, he said.

Guan Fengjun, head of the Geological Environment Department at the Ministry of Land and Resources, admitted that relocating residents to avoid potential geological disasters is a very complicated social problem.

Evacuating residents from potentially dangerous areas is an effective way to protect people, the State Council document stated.

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