A national center was established Wednesday in Beijing to reduce damage caused by floods and drought, catastrophes causing havoc to China’s national economy. The center aims to study withstanding the disasters and also how people can prevent them from happening, Friday’s China Daily reported.
Set up by the Ministry of Water Resources with senior staff from disaster-relief agencies and elite professionals, the center is designed to provide powerful technological support for China’s efforts to minimize damage from floods and drought. The center will research on specific key strategic policies, such as using flood water as a resource, and the introduction, adoption and popularization of flood-control and drought-prevention technologies, so as to meet China’s needs in disaster-reduction, senior water officials said.
“The World Bank will do its best to support the development of the center, as it was expected to be developed into a center for open technological and policy research, plus information and consultant services at the national level,” said Juergen Voegele, a World Bank co-ordinator in China.
Floods and droughts have become an ever-increasing concern of the Chinese government and its 1.3 billion people, with damage multiplying in recent years with China’s rapid economic growth. In 1998 direct damage caused by that year’s summer floods amounted to 255.1 billion yuan (30.7 billion U.S. dollars) with more than 4,100 people killed. In 2000, North China experienced the worst drought in 51 years,which caused millions of local people suffering from serious temporary shortages of drinking water.