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China to draw “risk map”

Lanzhou, China: Chinese authorities are drawing up a national natural disaster “risk map” in a bid to improve planning of urban construction projects in western China to avoid potential catastrophes.

“We’ve started many natural disaster risk evaluation projects in China since August this year,” Zou Ming, Director of the disaster relief department of China’s Civil Affairs Ministry, told Xinhua in an interview. Just like the census, Zou pointed out that the natural disaster risk evaluation will be of great value in China’s future urban construction policy making. Zou said the “risk map” would help city planners build cities and towns while avoiding danger-prone locations such as areas where earthquakes, floods and mudslides are likely to occur.

China’s vast western regions have experienced three major natural disasters in recent three years: An 8.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Wenchuan, Sichuan Province in May, 2008; a 7.1-magnitude earthquake that jolted Yushu, Qinghai Province in April, 2010, and devastating mudslides which claimed nearly 2,000 lives in Zhouqu, Guansu Province in August 2010. Such repeated disasters have caused western China’s city planners to look for a “risk map” for future city designing.

Earlier this month, southwest China’s Sichuan Province issued a circular requesting all cities and counties submit an evaluation report, specifically asking for suggestions on improvements and relocation proposals to be submitted before October 30. The province was reviewing post-quake rebuilding projects so as to ensure new homes and public facilities are safe and built away from areas prone to geological disasters.

Source: Xinhua