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Public must be 'ready against disasters'

[ 2009-05-11 13:32]     字号 [] [] []  
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The government needs to take stronger steps to make the public more prepared against natural disasters and improve early warning systems. Experts made the comment yesterday, two days before the first anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake.

The government will release its first white paper on disaster prevention and reduction on May 12, declared the country's first national disaster prevention day.

The Sichuan quake left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing, and caused an economic loss of over 700 billion yuan ($102.6 billion).

Provincial and regional governments have already begun campaigns to educate people on disaster prevention and emergency rescue. The Sichuan provincial government is distributing booklets and leaflets on construction guidelines, evacuation plans, landslide prevention and pest control after natural disasters.

"The quake showed how ill prepared we were for potential hazards," said Wang Qizhang, deputy director of Sichuan government's secretariat. "Many people didn't know how to react or apply first aid".

"We must learn a lesson from this and enhance public awareness and people's self-protection ability," he said.

Disaster experts and officials called for setting up a nationwide information network to encourage the public to monitor and report potential disasters to local governments.

"Some losses can be avoided. An effective public monitoring and early warning system to alert people against floods and quakes could save many lives," said Wang Jiexiu, deputy director of the National Disaster Reduction Center of the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The China Meteorological Administration will train 1 million people in rural areas to ensure every village has the information needed to combat weather-related disasters, center vice-director Xu Xiaofeng said.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Public must be 'ready against disasters'

About the broadcaster:

Public must be 'ready against disasters'

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.