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Quake museum opens in Beijing

The China Museum of Popular Science and Education for the Mitigation of Earthquake Disasters officially has opened in Beijing on Saturday on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the Tangshan earthquake.

The official opening came after a six-month trial run, and visitors to the museum at the foot of Fragrance Hill in Haidian District watched a film about earthquakes.

In 1976, an earthquake killed 240,000 people and badly injured 160,000 in the city of Tangshan in north China’s Hebei Province.

Various activities — including films, exhibitions and demonstrations of how to rescue people during an earthquake — were held in Tangshan yesterday to remember the disaster, which damaged more than 97 percent of the city’s commercial and residential buildings.

Visitors to the Beijing museum will have access to basic information on earthquakes and earthquake prevention and relief techniques. They can also get earthquake data online with the aid of museum staff at the museum’s Internet cafe.

During the 20th century, around 100 devastating earthquakes occurred in China and left about 590,000 dead and 760,000 disabled.

Chen urged governments at all levels to focus on earthquake forecast and relief, and to provide better earthquake monitoring and forecasting.