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Study on disaster risks to help improve safety

China Daily | February 17, 2023


China released its survey results on the integrated risk of natural disasters on Wednesday, the first of its kind in the country aiming to help prevent disasters in the future.

Zheng Guoguang, secretary-general of the National Disaster Reduction Commission, told a news conference that the results reveal hidden risks posed by natural disasters and disaster resistance capacity in some key regions.

"We will apply the results to prevent and control risks of natural disasters," Zheng said.

For example, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development can renovate old residential areas and dilapidated houses in rural areas that pose safety risks.

Water conservancy departments can use the results to improve flood prevention and the disaster reduction engineering system, Zheng said.

In 2020, the State Council started the survey in which nearly 5 million professionals and technical staff members from across the country took part.

They obtained data about the factors that can lead to disasters such as earthquakes, extreme weather, floods and droughts, and forest and grassland fires.

They also collected data related to population, housing, infrastructure, public service systems, resources and the environment.

Chen Xuefeng, a senior official from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, said at the news conference that the survey is like a large-scale in-depth "physical examination" to eliminate forest and grassland fire hazards.

The survey assesses all the factors that can lead to forest fire, including human activities, fire sources and the frequency of historical fires, and the capability of preventing and putting out fire, Chen said.

"The assessment can help forestry departments better monitor and manage fire sources and take more targeted measures," he said.

Chen Sheng, head of the Ministry of Emergency Management's risk monitoring and integrated disaster reduction division, said that the rural part of the survey results, mainly concerning population, housing, bridges and roads, and self-rescue capability, will improve disaster reduction ability.

"By learning about the survey, we can improve emergency evacuation signs and routes to guide local governments with evacuating people in case of sudden disasters such as extreme rainstorms, floods, flash floods and mud and rock flows. It can also assist with quicker allocation of emergency rescue equipment and materials," he said.