Archive for the Natural disaster Category

China to upgrade urban drainage systems [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, China, Natural disaster on July 29, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, July 13 (Xinhua) — A guideline for upgrading drainage systems in cities across the country has been developed, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said Saturday.

Frequent floods during periods of heavy rain, as well as public calls for updating poor drainage networks, prompted the creation of the guideline.

According to the guideline, drainage facilities in downtown areas in 36 large cities should be upgraded to handle heavy rain and prevent floods from occurring.

Schools and hospitals should be prioritized in flood prevention efforts, the guideline says.

If rainfall exceeds a given drainage network’s capacity, the city should still be able to operate normally and casualties, as well as losses of property, should be avoided, according to the guideline.

The ministry has required municipal authorities to compile drainage network construction plan based on the guideline and submit their plans before mid-2014.

The ministry also requires municipal authorities to submit reports regarding flooding, as well as casualties and economic losses caused by heavy rain, for the last ten years.

A heavy downpour that occurred in Beijing last July paralyzed the city, prompting the authorities to reflect on the poor drainage system.

Flooding is frequently reported in cities during the summer, as most drainage facilities are designed to handle smaller amounts of rain than has been received in recent years.

A ministry report showed that 62 percent of 351 surveyed cities experienced flooding between 2008 and 2010.

Liu Quanle, an associate professor at the Economic Management Institute at the Hebei University of Science and Technology, said underground drainage facilities have been overlooked in most cities.

He called for more funding for drainage projects.

The ministry did not say how the upgrades will be funded, although a central government notice issued in April said the funds may come from land transfer revenues and flood control funding.

Editor: Chen Zhi

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Commentary: Quake-hit China grows in pain [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Natural disaster on April 26, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhua) — A path marking the painful growth of the Chinese nation is clear as the country has been hit hard by two deadly earthquakes in five years and lessons have been learned the hard way.

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake jolted Lushan County of Ya’an City, Sichuan Province, on Saturday, leaving at least 188 people dead and 25 missing as of 2 p.m. Monday. It reminded people of an 8.0-magnitude quake that hit Wenchuan County, 85 km away from Lushan in southwest China, on May 12, 2008, killing nearly 70,000 people.

The principle of sparing no efforts to save lives cannot be more stressed. No minute or even second should be delayed during the “golden rescue period” in the first 72 hours after the quake.

Experience gained from the 2008 Wenchuan quake has been immediately shared in the current relief work. Emergency response was initiated within one hour after Saturday’s quake. Premier Li Keqiang set off for the disaster area five hours after the quake.

The nation showed its strength as volunteers went to the epicenter in self-organized groups and store owners handed out food to survivors.

China once again faced challenges posed by a strong earthquake. However, the calmer and more rational relief work has reflected the country’s economic and social progress.

Compared with the quake relief work of five years ago, rescuers this time commanded more advanced equipment, such as helicopters, transport planes, unmanned planes, the Beidou Navigation Satellite System and life detection instruments, which has assisted the relief work.

A scientific and efficient disaster relief command has enabled the armed forces and medical staff to rush to the disaster-hit area at full speed.

The release of information was quicker and more transparent after the Lushan quake as the first batch of remote sensing observation data was transmitted to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth Saturday afternoon.

Domestic media and the Internet kept updating the latest quake-related coverage, and news conferences were organized efficiently so as to prevent social panic and allow relief goods to be quickly sent to the needy.

More people resorted to Internet-based media tools, such as Tencent’s Weixin, an instant messaging cellphone software, or Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, for personalized information about the quake or to search for their missing relatives and friends.

Those who started or spread quake-related rumors on the Internet were soon discovered and condemned by netizens.

People’s disaster relief awareness has been more rational as they have gained experience in dealing with such events. Volunteers, tourists and others not trained as rescuers were asked to stay out of the disaster area, according to a State Council circular.

The “golden rescue period” of the first 72 hours after the quake is ending. Although there has been not enough time for more reflections on lessons learned from the Lushan quake relief, we have reason to believe, with stronger national spirit, China will be more mature to endure the painful growth.

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Authorities launch relief operation in flood-hit NE China [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Dalian, Dandong, Liaoning Province, Natural disaster on August 5, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) — China has launched relief operation in northeastern province of Liaoning and northern province of Hebei where millions of people were affected by floods caused by Typhoon Damrey.

The National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the Ministry of Civil Affairs sent two teams to the flood-hit regions to direct relief work, according to a ministry statement on Sunday.

Nearly 1.46 million people of 43 counties and urban districts in 10 cities of Liaoning were affected by heavy rains and floods, which left one dead and five missing, according to the statement.

More than 10,000 houses collapsed and about 17,000 houses were damaged, forcing 138,000 people to evacuate. Nearly 70,000 hectares of crops were also damaged, with direct economic losses reaching 2.36 billion yuan (370.4 million U.S. dollars).

In Hebei, about 2.33 million people were affected by the disaster, including one dead, one missing and 151,000 people who were relocated. About 9,400 houses were destructed in the flooding.

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Heaviest rain in 6 decades thrashes Beijing, leaving 37 dead [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Natural disaster on July 23, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Firefighters pull a submerged car near Guangqumen Bridge in Beijing, capital of China, July 21, 2012. Beijing received 117 mm of precipitation on average as of 8 p.m., with a township in the suburban Mentougou district hit by the largest of 345 mm, according to the Beijing Meteorological Bureau. The agency issued its first orange rainstorm alert warning since 2005 Saturday evening as the rain is forecast to last over 20 hours till Sunday morning. (Xinhua/Li Fangyu)

BEIJING, July 22 (Xinhua) — The death toll from Saturday’s torrential rains has climbed to 37 as more bodies were retrieved, the Beijing municipal government said Sunday night.

Among the victims, 25 were drowned, six were killed in house collapses, one by lightening strike and five were electrocuted, according to the Information Office of the municipal government.

Twenty-two of the bodies have been identified, it added.

The heaviest rain in six decades lashed the Chinese capital on Saturday, with the average precipitation reaching 170 mm while a township in the suburban district of Fangshan recording 460 mm of rain.

The downpours have submerged some power supply facilities and led to blackouts in parts of the city…

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Beichuan: a new beginning [Granma International]

Posted in China, CPC, Cuba, Family planning policy, Natural disaster, PLA on September 8, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Havana. August 12, 2011

by Aida Calviac Mora

SICHUAN.— Beichuan honors its dead with yellow chrysanthemums. Anyone arriving in this district in the north of the Chinese province of Sichuan, is obliged to observe a minute’s silence before the shocking ruins of the May 12, 2008 earthquake, and then turn his or her head to appreciate the people’s amazing capacity for reconstruction and a new beginning.

The people recount how that Monday the earth trembled mercilessly. According to official figures, the quake of 8.00 on the Richter scale left 68,712 dead and 17,291 disappeared in the province.

With 80% of its buildings destroyed, Beichuan was transformed from a paradisiacal landscape into a Dantesque one in a matter of seconds. More than 125,000 of its inhabitants died and around 4,300 were never found. The earthquake provoked a rain of giant rocks which flattened everything in their path and raised the level of the Jiang Jiang He River, which now divides the new part of the district from the old, above the level of its bridge.

“As I was driving, I saw that the highway was beginning to move. Rocks were falling from the mountains and dust covered the sky over the valley,” recalls one of the survivors who, at 2:28pm on that day, was close to the epicenter in Wenchuan, 130 kilometers distant.

The 30,000 aftershocks increased the panic and frustration in the wake of the massive losses and shock, in China’s worst quake in 30 years.

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao traveled to the region that same day and was later joined by President Hu Jintao, to direct the considerable rescue operations which resulted in close to 84,000 people being pulled out of the rubble.

During those tragic days Cubans worked alongside the Chinese people, armed forces, the Communist Party and government on all levels, as a demonstration of sisterhood and solidarity between the two nations. The authorities of the Asian giant acknowledged the Cuban medical brigade of 35 volunteers from the Henry Reeve International Contingent Specializing in Disaster and Serious Epidemics as one of the first to come to the aid of the quake victims.


Sichuan, a province in southwest China, occupies a strategic position in terms of economic development in the west of the country. In the earthquake, 18 of its districts were totally flattened. Its capital is Chengdu and Beichuan, the town which suffered the most damage, lies…160 kilometers distant.

Local authorities have calculated that the considerable human and material losses have set back the socioeconomic development of the areas affected by the equivalent of 50 years.

According to the Sichuan government’s Information Office, the poverty rate went up from 11.7% to 34.9%. For that reason, barely three months after the earthquake, a temporary subsidy of 8.38 billion yuan was implemented to help more than seven million people. Low income families received assistance checks and monthly payments were organized for orphans, homeless senior citizens and people with disabilities.

With the aim of transforming the desolate construction scene, the central government adopted an aid twinning mechanism, consisting of associating cities and towns affected by the disaster with provinces in other parts of the country which did not suffer the effects of the earthquake. Currently, 18 provinces are providing help for the 18 areas affected and, by May 2011, three years after the quake, 99% of the 3,880 reconstruction projects had been completed, with an investment of 76 billion yuan ($12.66 billion).

Approximately 23 kilometers from the memorial city which the magnitude of the earthquake left brutally trapped in time, the new district of Yong Chang, modern, in harmony with its environment and respecting the constructive [sic] style of the Qiang ethnic group, the majority in the region, is rising up.

As Du Yong, chief of Beichuan district, told Granma newspaper, the new development, inaugurated at the end of January this year, has 9,000 homes and an infrastructure of schools, hospitals, water treatment plants and other basics. The new buildings are resistant to the impact of earthquakes of 8.0 in magnitude, he assures.

Sichuan families have also had to undergo a rebirth, both physical and psychological, after the untimely loss of various of their members and family planning centers have played a decisive role in instilling hope and the capacity to adapt.

In Beichuan, 700 couples lost their only child. From July of 2008, these centers have been giving subsidies to those who wish to rebuild their families, providing medical attention for pregnant women, implementing adoption policies and other guidance and support services, commented Wang Yong Xin, general deputy director of the institution, who noted that, with the help of this project, 758 children have been born since the earthquake.

One can still see incense burning in parts of Beichuan as an everlasting symbol of mourning for the dead, but there are no longer apocalyptical [sic] visions. Like the roofs and balconies which, little by little began to rise up from the ground, this population is rebuilding itself, with all of China behind it, making possible its renaissance.

Edited by Zuo Shou

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Protesters force closure of Dalian chemical plant [People’s Daily]

Posted in Dalian, Liaoning Province, Natural disaster, Oil spill, Police, Pollution, Special Economic Zones on August 15, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Although I didn’t turn up any evidence that chemicals leaked during the recent typhoon landing, people should know that Dalian has been rattled over the past year or so by seemingly continuous round of environmental, industrial and civic-related accidents, including a major oil spill. The contradictions of a city trying to play a dual role as a showcase beach resort and booming Special Economic Zone is stirring residents into major protest. – Zuo Shou

August 15, 2011

* Excerpted *

A chemical plant in Dalian in northeast China has been ordered to shut immediately after 12,000 residents took to the streets over concerns of potential toxic chemical leaks.

Dalian authorities yesterday also pledged to relocate the controversial Fujia Chemical Plant, in a statement issued just six hours after the protest began in the port city.

A small crowd gathered in front of government buildings at around 10am yesterday and quickly grew from there.

Protesters chanted “Fujia, get out!” and “Serve the people,” sang the national anthem and displayed banners printed with the phrases “We want to survive” and “We want a good environment.”

There were scuffles with police, although there were no reports of injuries. At one point, protesters threw bottles of mineral water at police who had tried to cordon off a section of a main road that passes near the square.

Before giving the order to shut the plant, Dalian’s Communist Party chief Tang Jun and Mayor Li Wancai had tried to appease the crowd by promising to move the plant, but protesters demanded a clear timetable for relocation.

The plant is a producer of paraxylene (PX), a carcinogenic petrochemical used to create raw materials for the production of polyester film and fabrics.

Calls to relocate the plant mounted last week after waves whipped up by tropical storm Muifa breached a dike built to protect the plant from floodwaters. Residents were concerned that a flood could damage the plant and cause it to release toxic chemicals.

The breached dike has been repaired and no chemical leaks have been reported, but demands for relocation still gathered steam. Calls for street protests rapidly circulated on the Internet…

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Typhoon Muifa – LIVE REPORT [China Daily]

Posted in China, Dandong, Heilongjiang Province, Jilin Province, Liaoning Province, Natural disaster, Shanghai on August 8, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

This article link is being regularly updated – Zuo Shou

Typhoon Muifa – LIVE REPORT link:

Last update: August 8, 2:15pm

“Welcome to our live coverage of typhoon Muifa. Here we will bring you the latest news, information and storm tracking updates as it moves North towards the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. The storm brushed along China’s east coast but avoided a direct hit on Shanghai and Shandong as it veered north. More than 610,000 residents were evacuated as the strong wind and rain destroyed homes and brought down power lines with direct economic losses estimated 1.87 billion yuan…

1:56 pm

Here is the latest computer model from Weather Underground. The trajectory shows the eye of the storm passing through Dandong in Liaoning later today.”