You are here: Home» Development News» Special Coverage» Natural Disaster

Flood Controls Reinforced

Adjust font size:

China plans to tighten controls on several thousand small and medium-sized rivers that it thinks pose a flood risk in a move to prevent more disasters triggered by mountain torrents.

The announcement, on Tuesday, from the Ministry of Land and Resources, came in response to this year's natural disasters, which resulted in some of the worst losses of the past two decades.

By September, the country had seen more than 29,000 natural disasters, almost twice the number for the same nine-month period last year, Wang Min, vice-minister of land and resources, told a State Council Information Office news conference.

The death toll from these is five times the figure for the same period last year, Wang said.

So far, mountain torrents and landslides have claimed 3,313 lives and have left 1,029 people missing. They have also done nearly 370 billion yuan (US$54 billion) in damage, according to the National Disaster Reduction Commission's latest data.

Landslides and floods in Zhouqu, in Gansu province, in August, left 1,765 dead or missing.

But the extreme weather is not the only culprit. Poor construction work and lack of maintenance of reservoirs on small to medium-sized rivers, as well as weak preventive measures are also to blame, experts say.

To prevent casualties from natural disasters and to hold losses to a minimum, the State Council has come up with measures to improve river management and an overall plan is expected before March 2011. Hundreds of billions of yuan will be spent on the project, Du Ying, deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission, told the news conference.

The plan calls for reservoirs with a capacity of less than one million cubic meters to be reinforced within three to five years, according to Jiao Yong, water resources vice-minister.

Jiao said China is expected to have spent 64.9 billion yuan reinforcing more than 2,000 large and medium-sized reservoirs and almost 7,000 small ones during the 1998 to 2010 period.

"But, that still leaves tens of thousands of small reservoirs needing repairs," Jiao hastened to add. "And before 2012 we plan to fix another 5,400 with capacities of one million cu m to 10 million cu m."

Seventy percent of the causalities and more than 60 percent of losses from the flooding are the result of poor management, as well as the natural disasters, according to the headquarters of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief.

Wang said that 20,000 more potential disaster sites have been added this year to the 240,000 potential sites across the country that are already on their list.

(Xinhua News Agency October 14, 2010)

Related News & Photos