Home Articles Earthqauke Disaster Management in China

Earthqauke Disaster Management in China

Tang Aiping
Associate Professor, Ph.d
E–mail: [email protected]

Wen Aihua
Senior Engineer, Master
E–mail: [email protected]

Tao Xiaxin
Professor, Ph.d
E–mail: [email protected]

School of Civil Engineering
Harbin Institute of Technology
No. 202, Haihe Road , Nanggang District
Harbin Heilongjiang Province
Telephone: 86-451-6282-204, Fax: 86-451-6282-704

1 Introducation
China is one of the countries suffering from the most severe natural hazards all over the world. Although some great progress have been gained in natural hazard mitigation, the natural disasters bring on big economic loss, in average, natural disasters lead to a direct economic loss of 3~6 percentage of total GDP and death of thousand people every year. China is facing a serious situation in reducing natural hazard. As a response to the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) that was sponsored by United Nations in 1989, the Chinese Government launched sets of great programs to mitigate and prevent the natural disasters as well as other man-made disasters. As the results from the Chinese government imbursement and guidance, by now, most of cities have taken various information measures for disaster protection and reduction.

Because of the specific geological situation, where the famous Circum-pacific active structure zone intersects the Himalayas-Mediterranean active structure zone, China has a high earthquake disaster risk and hazard. The earthquake disaster is a huge negative effect on the sustainable healthy development of this country. The government has always laid stress on making a series of measures to reduce the level of risk and hazard since 1970s. By now, the accepted abilities of earthquake risk and hazard have been greatly improved in recent years. According the statistics, all of main cities and large state enterprises have set up their own special earthquake disaster management system. Some cities which locate in high earthquake risk area almost rehearse the rescuing and rush-repairing procedure in designed earthquake every year. The anti-seismic awareness of the public is trained. To mitigate the earthquake disaster, it has been proved that the earthquake disaster management is one of the important and powerful tools.



2 Earthquake Disaster Management Model
The earthquake disaster management in china is like pyramid, the general emergency directing center, led by Chinese State Department and Chinese Seismological Bureau, is the top organization, Provincial government and related Ministries are the second layer , the local government is the third layer, and other organizations or enterprises locate the lowest. The systemic frame can be described in Figure 1. Because of central political system, the earthquake emergency directing center can mobilize the country’s all resources to join in all steps in the earthquake preparedness and rescuing. The emergency directing system can be started once the earthquake takes place, the related other organizations and enterprise will take uniform acts according to the arrangement from the general emergency directing center.

Figure 1. The simply frame of earthquake disaster management in china
At present, the earthquake disaster management is run in a samdwich model. The general emergency directing center starts up to emergency direct, supervising and coordinating the regional and provincials emergency rescuing action when seriously destructive earthquake with a terrible disaster takes place. Provincial and Ministries emergency center implements disaster management within the administrative area, carries out their emergency action when seriously destructive earthquake in their administrative area, and accepts the commanding from the general emergency directing center to participate the rescuing and preparedness action in the larger region. The earthquake emergency of regional government, organization, and enterprise consists of the field earthquake emergency action, reporting dynamically the loss and seismic situation to upper government, and coordinating the emergency powers from the outside the earthquake site, they are the important executants to finish the daily and emergency earthquake disaster management.

After the system has been practiced for decades, although it has been proved that the system has a better effect than other systems, some deficiencies have also been found in recent earthquakes. For example, the information of earthquake damage can’t be transmitted from the earthquake site to the related organization in time because the information pipelines are often halted by some bureaucrats, although it is in an unusual situation. In order to keep the information to move smoothly and fluently into the networks of earthquake preparedness and rescuing, the Chinese government had started a series of programs to set up the digital networks since 1990, the digital networks, based on GIS, GPS and RS, take in a lot of new achievements in earthquake engineering and information science. With the aid of the digital networks, the earthquake disaster management in china is entering new era. Following contents show the new development of earthquake disaster management in China.

3 Foundational Information Systems for Earthquake Disaster Mitigation
Kinds of digital maps based on different scales have been built up since 1990. By now, The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the development of earth science and technology as well as information technology to develop the foundation Information Systems for earthquake disaster mitigation. In recent years, as one part of “Digital Earth” and China’s National Information Infrastructure (CNII) project, this system has taken in a great deal of information related to earthquake disaster mitigation, such as the digital geological maps with scale of 1:50,000, 1:250,000 and 1:1,000,000 for whole country, in which the geological structure, historic earthquake have been include, distribution of population and building. All of provincial capital and big cities owning over one million populations have even built the more details digital geological and infrastructure systems maps with scale of 1: 25,000, 1:10,000 and 1:5,000. Some special maps have much more information. Almost all cities that the population is over 500,000 have built themselves foundation information system for reducing earthquake disaster and hazard, these systems almost contain all infrastructure information in urban area, such as water-supply network, power system, telecommunication network, traffic system, distribution of population and building, etc. Figure 2 ,3 are two typical illustration of earthquake disaster preparation and rescuing system for medium –sized city, this system has been applied in actual earthquake emergency.

Figure 2 one infrastructure information systems for urban earthquake disaster mitigation
Beside the powerful infrastructure database is built, the newest achievements in the earthquake engineering are also continually added to this system, such as the earthquake risk analysis theories and methods, new anti-seismic criteria or code, new knowledge and experiences in pre- and post-earthquake emergency. Figure 4 is the first digital map which was drawn based on the theory of earthquake risk probability analysis and GIS in 1994. The new computer techniques have been applied to build this system. For example, the developing platform for the earthquake disaster mitigation in every rank is geographical information system (GIS), the earthquake risk analysis model and model of earthquake loss assessment can easily updated in time in this system.

(a) 3D image of building distribution (b) coverage of power network
Figure 3 data of infrastructure information in the earthquake disaster mitigation

Figure 4 one earthquake zoning map based on GIS in Northern china plain
However, because the territory of China is vast, there is a big difference of the development in different areas, it is impossible to build the intact foundational information database for all of country, with the consideration of seismic activity, characteristics, as well as the level of seismic science and technology, state economic capability, the government has paid great attention to the preparedness and mitigation for earthquake disaster in urban area.

4 Public Awareness Training Program for Earthquake Disaster Mitigation
In order to improve people’s awareness of earthquake hazard and risk mitigation, the Chinese government has started many training programs. As the department responsible for the preparedness of earthquake disaster in china and with the requirement of Law on Protecting against and Mitigating Earthquake Disaster, all regional government and some key stated-owned enterprises have drawn earthquake emergency plan accord with their actual earthquake environment. Every year, some large-scale rehearses of earthquake rescuing are often put up. The law of the people’s republic of china on protecting against and mitigation earthquake disaster has been published in 1998.

Figure 5 one rehearsing of earthquake rescuing in Tanshan, July 2002 (From https://www.sina.com)
The project for people’s awareness of earthquake hazard and risk mitigation improvement includes the following contents:

  • legislate for earthquake disaster prevention
  • publicize the basic knowledge of earthquake
  • spread broadly the knowledge to avoid the wounded from earthquake
  • build network to monitor and forecast the earthquake in severe earthquake zone
  • draw the preliminary plan according to special earthquake environment
  • put up the rehearsing of earthquake rescuing in regular time
  • organizes the surveying and visiting of earthquake site
  • design the training program to earthquake preparedness, organization, emergency, rescuing and the management of information.
  • build the system for earthquake disaster insurance to protect the people’s life and their estates

So far, three major systems for preparedness and mitigating earthquake disaster in china have been set up or building, which are earthquake monitoring and forecast system, prevention of earthquake disaster system, and earthquake emergency response and rescues system After practice for decades, it is proved that these methods have a good the effect to help people and community to reduce the earthquake damage.

5 Key Techniques in Earthquake Disaster Management
To guarantee the sustaining development of national economy and social progress is the core to keep the country thriving and prosperous. Disaster, particular catastrophic earthquake, has induced a large economic loss and death in china since 1949. Because of the serious result induced by earthquake, earthquake disaster, as well as other natural disasters, is the most dangerous factor and the biggest impedient in the development of the country. High and New techniques in science and technology is emphasized when the system for the earthquake disaster management is built. By now, all of advanced techniques in china can almost find their trace in this system. For example, for the sake of building the network for earthquake disaster forecasting and emergency in Beijing, the government starts up a systemic demonstrating project named “plan of earthquake disaster mitigation and preparedness in Capital circle”. In this project, three sub-systems will be built, they are: earthquake monitoring and forecasting system, rapid emergency response system, and propagandizing and educational system. The advanced digital seismograph, digital earthquake observation, earthquake data collection and analysis technique, 3S technique (GIS, GPS, and RS) are applied in the front two sub-systems; the last sub-system is base on the Internet and the newest generation computer and computer techniques. A special sputnik for the aim to reduce the earthquake disaster is gonging to be launched in recent years. With regard to the earthquake disaster assessment, a special team has been established in both national and provincial level to implement the assessment. The special earthquake rescuing team has been organized in 2000, and took its first international rescuing action in Algeria in 2003; the team is equipped with the advanced rescuing and foraging facilities.

6 Problems and solutions in building Earthquake Disaster Management system
The earthquake disaster management system must own a powerful capacity to deal with a large amount of information. It is proved that 3S technique is the ideal software tools to build the system. Due to the difference of the data type from 3S, the data transformation among 3S and other data, and system integration are the key problem. In certain sub-systems of the regional, city, enterprise, and provincials management system, these problems have already been solved in certain level, although it is not perfect. This is the solution for the 3S integration in certain small system.

Figure 6 simply model of 3S integration
In this system, GIS is the core of the data amalgamation, all of analysis models, data from RS and GPS will be linked by DLL (Dynamic link library) technique, the integration platform is the Visual Basic.

7 Conclusion and Acknowledge
After having practicing for decade, the society has benefited from the earthquake disaster management system. Although digital techniques used in reducing natural disaster have got a great progress, there are still many difficulties, such as installation technique, corrosion-resisting and durable properties of sensors, data collection and transmission under abominable condition. At the same time, it is also the most important and pressing task to improve the precision of monitoring information now.

The Natural Science Foundation of China (No.50278028), the Scientific Research Foundation of Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT-2000, 79), and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2000-27) supported the project. This financial support is greatly appreciated.


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