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China to enhance capabilities to combat earthquakes(11/01/07)



 BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- China plans to build an earthquake-proof system to correspond with the development of its cities, according to its 2006-2020 earthquake proof and relief plan.

    Under the plan, the full text of which is carried by the Central Government website www.gov.cn, the system will enable all areas in China to basically have the capability to cope with earthquakes measuring around six on the Richter Scale by 2020. Measures will also be taken to equip rural areas with both earthquake-proof facilities and knowledge in relief procedures.

    Currently in rural areas earthquakes usually cause heavy economic loss and casualties due to a lack of earthquake-proof facilities and relief knowledge.

    According to the plan, the government will provide equal public services in both rural and urban areas in earthquake-proof and relief. Administrators of major infrastructure facilities and lifelines are asked to enhance their ability to cope with earthquakes.

    It says China will digitalize its seismic observation in both continental and oceanic areas. It will also step up the establishment of earthquake-warning systems and earthquake-proof facilities in key infrastructure and lifeline projects.

    According to the plan, publicity of earthquake-proof and relief knowledge shall cover 40 percent of the population and 200,000 volunteers will enrolled to work for earthquake-proof and relief efforts by 2010.

    Material storage systems for disaster relief will be built and earthquake victims will be ensured of basic living and medical assistance within 24 hours of an earthquake.

    Statistics show 35 percent of earthquakes measuring seven and above on the Richter Scale in the world's continents occurred in China in the last century. Earthquakes around the world killed about 1.2 million people in the 20th century, including 590,000 in China. The biggest disaster in the country is a 1976 quake that killed more than 242,000 in Tangshan, Hebei Province.


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