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The Parching of China> Backgrounder
UPDATED: May 17, 2009 NO. 20 MAY 21, 2009
China's Actions for Disaster Prevention and Reduction



II. Strategic Goals and Tasks for Disaster Reduction

In the National 11th Five-year Plan on Comprehensive Disaster Reduction and other documents issued in recent years, the Chinese Government has made clear its medium- and long-term strategic goals during the 11th Five-year Plan period (2006-2010) and the ensuing years: to build a relatively complete working system and operational mechanisms regarding disaster reduction; to greatly enhance the capabilities related to disaster monitoring and early warning, prevention and preparation, emergency handling, disaster relief, and rehabilitation and reconstruction; to notably raise public awareness of disaster reduction and emergency rescue skills; and to significantly reduce human casualties and direct economic losses caused by natural disasters.

The main tasks are as follows:

—To strengthen capability in management over hidden risks of natural disasters and relevant information. Based on a general survey of hidden risks of major natural disasters in key areas, and the overall prevention and reduction capabilities of the nation, China will build a database of the risks of natural disasters, and draw up a national diagram of the situations in high-risk and key areas. It will also build a system for collecting statistics about disasters and the damage inflicted, and a reporting system covering the national, provincial, municipal and county levels. It will improve the mechanisms of prompt news release, check on disaster damage, and the work on information exchange, consultation and announcement. A platform for the sharing and releasing of disaster information will be established, and the analysis, appraisal and application of disaster information be reinforced.

—To strengthen capability in the monitoring, early warning and forecasting of natural disasters. While improving the existing monitoring network, China will increase the monitoring density and launch a satellite remote-sensing monitoring system, thus building a three-dimensional monitoring platform for natural disasters. It will promote the comprehensive utilization and integrated development of monitoring and early warning infrastructures, and improve the supporting systems in the field of disaster warning, forecasting and decision-making. Particular efforts will be made to strengthen the capability of monitoring, early warning and forecasting extreme weather and serious frequently-occurred disasters. A mechanism to issue disaster risk warnings will be put in place using various channels of communication to accurately and promptly release disaster information.

—To strengthen overall capability to prevent and combat natural disasters. Efforts will be made to carry out various plans concerning disaster prevention and reduction, construct pillar projects, and raise the disaster combat capabilities of large and medium-sized industrial bases, transportation trunk lines, communication hubs and lifeline projects. In line with the national land utilization plan and principle of economical and intensive use of land, the government will make an overall plan in respect of disaster reduction concerning agriculture and rural areas, industry and urban areas, as well as specialized disaster prevention and reduction plans and construction of relevant projects in key areas, so as to enhance the country's overall disaster-prevention capacity in all aspects.

—To strengthen the state capacity for emergency rescue and relief work. A coordinated and efficient disaster emergency management system will be built, characterized by unified command, sound coordination, clear division of work, and level-by-level control with local authorities playing the main role. This will form, by and large, an emergency relief system covering all aspects. The construction of disaster combat and relief materials reserve network, at central and local levels, will be strengthened; the transportation capacity of relief materials will be raised; various backbone or professional rescue contingents will be consolidated; and disaster reduction and relief equipment will be improved. Social mobilization mechanisms are to be improved to give full play to the functions of non-governmental organizations and organizations at the grassroots level as well as volunteers in the sphere of disaster relief.

—To strengthen capability in consolidating flood control in various river valleys. Adhering to the principles of overall planning, sound coordination and comprehensive solution of both root causes and symptoms, a complete flood control and disaster prevention system will be built to guarantee the safety of river valleys. The system will take embankment construction as the basis, backed up by key water control projects on mainstreams and tributaries, flood storage areas and dredged watercourses, as well as levees, lakeside lands returned from farming to water, and water and soil conservation efforts, in addition to non-project measures such as flood and drought control command systems, coordination measures and flood risk management.

—To strengthen capability in comprehensive response to disastrous calamities. By studying the mechanism of occurrence and law of activity of disastrous calamities, and their relations with secondary disasters, China will conduct simulation experiments of massive disaster variations and emergency responses to disastrous calamities. It will build and improve relevant systems and mechanisms, work out policies and emergency response plans against disastrous calamities, and conduct drills to combat them. It will also spread pilot insurance schemes in agriculture and forestry, and introduce, based on national conditions, insurance and re-insurance against devastating disasters. It will strengthen efforts in the construction of projects against huge disasters, and establish an Asian regional disaster research center.

—To strengthen urban and rural community capability in coping with disasters. China will improve the emergency response plans for urban and rural communities, and train the residents against such dangers. Urban and rural emergency facilities will be improved, and model communities will be established throughout the country. Housing safety projects in both rural and urban areas will be built. Shelters will be built where disasters are prone to occur. Community disaster reporters will be nominated, urban and rural residents will be educated to prevent and deal with disasters, and a mechanism to protect disadvantaged community groups will be built.

—To strengthen the scientific and technological support capability in the fields of disaster prevention and reduction. China will fortify the research and development of key technologies, and study and work out national medium- and long-term strategies for scientific and technological development in coping with natural disasters. It will quicken the application of remote-sensing, geographical information system, global positioning system, and network communication technologies. It will invest more funds in scientific and technological development against disasters, support the construction of relevant disciplines and the fostering of skilled people, and build personnel training bases. It will also introduce relevant technological standards, and standardize disaster prevention and reduction operations.

—To strengthen capability in scientific publicity and education concerning disaster reduction. China will heighten the sense of duty of local governments at various levels in disaster reduction. Knowledge related to disaster reduction will be incorporated in school textbooks, and provided to rural residents through activities to bring cultural, scientific, medical services to the rural areas. General or specialized education concerning disaster reduction will be encouraged, and relevant education bases built. A national network platform spreading disaster reduction knowledge will be launched. Popular science books, wall charts and audio-visual products will be published and produced, local experiences in disaster prevention and reduction be publicized, and public awareness and skills raised.

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