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Overview of Situation on Natural Disasters, Relief Initiatives and Funding Efforts in 2005

Ministry of Civil Affairs

January 5, 2006

1. Natural disaster situation in 2005

Year 2005 has witnessed yet another year fraught with natural disasters for China. This year China has been haunted by flood, typhoon, drought, hailstorm and snowstorm, freeze, landslide, mud and rock flow and earthquake, among other disasters. natural disasters combined have left 2,475 dead, 15.7 million persons displaced, 2.264 million houses collapsed and 204.21 billion yuan worth of direct economic losses generated. Given the unforgivingness of nature in 2005, the numbers of evacuees and direct economic losses have recorded a new high in recent five years, with the death toll second to that in 2001 and the number of collapsed houses second only to that in 2003 when heavy deluge flooded the Huaihe River (see Chart 1 for reference).

Chart 1 Disaster-related human and economic losses and destruction in recent five years


Death Toll



(1,000 persons)

Collapsed Houses (1,000)

Direct Economic Losses (billion yuan)





















This year disasters feature the following nine manifestations:

First, floods have gained intensity, lasted longer and affected more areas than before. Disasters of all kinds have come in an endless stream, evidenced by the snowstorm in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the first quarter, the typhoon that swept Fujian Province early in October and flood that struck the Weihe River and the Hanjiang River.

Second, eight typhoons landed on the mainland China in a short span of 76 days with a concentration in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces. All of them gained intensity higher than average, culminating in Damrey, the strongest-ever typhoon that has ravaged South China since 1974.

Third, extreme climatic events have occurred on a frequent basis, as Shalan Township of Ning’an City, Heilongjiang Province, Aletai of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Xijang of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Dabieshan Region of Anhui Province, among others, have recorded devastating disasters that have never been seen over the past century or decades.

Fourth, the number of evacuees displaced by disasters has registered 15.7 million persons, second to that in 1998, of which Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangxi have evacuated 4.24 million, 3.71 million and 1.24 million respectively, making up the top three on the list.

Fifth, Disasters have claimed 2,475 lives, one of the largest numbers in recent years. Most of the death toll comes from east China, central south and northeast, where Sichuan, Yunnan, Fujian, Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou and Heilongjiang are the major contributors.

Sixth, disasters in urban areas have emerged prominent, as flood and typhoon have inundated Aletai of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Wuzhou of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Dazhou of Sichuan, Jiujiang of Jiangxi and Fuzhou of Fujian.

Seventh, some parts of the country were hardest hit with hefty losses. Flood and typhoon have incurred losses of over 10s of billions of RMB respectively in Zhejiang, Fujian, Anhui, Hainan and Hunan.

Eighth, west China has been hit by mixed disasters with draught and flood and earthquake striking parts of the region one after another. Amidst sustained draught, flood has swept Naqu of Tibet, Dingxi of Gansu, Haidong Area of Qinghai and parts of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Inner Mongolia, leaving many rural houses damaged or destroyed. Earthquake measuring five degrees on Richter scale has ravaged Qujing and Wenshan of Yunnan and Akesu and Hetian of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The complexity of disasters in the poverty-stricken areas has added to the difficulty of disaster relief effort.

Ninth, economic losses directly incurred by disasters nationwide have registered 204.2 billion yuan, the highest in the past five years. The entire island of Hainan and parts of northeast China have been hardest hit, and those affected have since been living a miserable life.

2. Disaster reduction and relief

Considering the severity of the natural disasters this year, the MCA has given top priority to ensuring a subsistence life for those affected. As the MCA continues to stay on the path of regulating and exploring new areas of relief efforts, it has greatly enhanced China’s capability of harnessing the synergy in natural disaster rescue and relief efforts.

(1) Responding to sudden natural disasters with timely and effective measures. In the light of the State Natural Disaster Relief Contingency Plan, the MCA has launched 30 emergency plans in response to disasters in 18 provinces in total, including six and 24 at the third and the fourth levels respectively. The emergency plan remained in force for as long as 103 days, and eight emergency plans were initiated in response to typhoon and flood in Fujian Province alone. The total of emergency plans executed in 2005 has far outnumbered that in 2003 and 2004, which has registered 16 and 12 respectively. 62 taskforces have been sent to the disaster-hit regions to coordinate disaster relief efforts on the ground, and 66,980 tents were provided for those affected. With these plans and measures in place, the MCA has ensured the appropriate placement of the affected within 24 hours following an occurrence of a disaster.

(2) Ensuring availability of relief supplies to the affected in times of spring famine and winter cold. In 2005, relief supplies were badly needed by 80.297 million and 72.532 million people to survive spring famine and winter cold respectively. In line with the Regulations on Relief Efforts for the Affected In Times of Spring Famine and Winter Cold, the MCA sent 22 taskforces to the hard hit provinces where they made an all-round assessment of the livelihood of the affected and identified 248 counties as priority targets for monitoring, including 93 on spring famine list and 155 on winter cold list. The MCA and Ministry of Finance have earmarked a total of 1.1 billion yuan as relief funds for those affected in face of spring famine and 1.2 billion yuan for those in face of winter cold. 15.56 million Relief Cards have been made available to 45.74 million people to see them through the spring famine. The relief effort is right under way to help those affected survive the winter cold.

(3) Pressing ahead with rehabilitation and reconstruction initiatives. 2005 has seen more-than-average disaster-induced collapses of houses. In conformity with the Regulations of the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Renovation and Rebuilding of Disaster-damaged Houses, the SDRC has been vigorously working on projects of rehabilitation and reconstruction in the principles of overall planning, scientific guidance and coordinated development. Of the 1.97 million houses to be built as planned, 85.39 percent of them or 1.682 million houses have been completed by December 31, 2005. A total of 4.754,995 billion yuan has been pooled to finance the rebuilding projects, of which the central budget contributed 8.75 percent or 416.1 million yuan and the local budgets contributed 15.45 percent or 734.919 million yuan. Other contributions include 267.302 million yuan or 5.6 percent of the total donated by the civil society and 3.336,673 billion yuan or 70.2 percent of the total raised by those affected themselves.

(4) Enhancing the integrated disaster reduction capacity across the board. January of 2005 saw the State Council rename the China National Committee for IDNDR (CNCIDNDR) as State Disaster Reduction Commission or SDRC. The leadership of the disaster reduction and relief efforts has been improved with the establishment of an expert panel consisting of 18 academicians and renowned experts. The round-the-clock disaster monitoring mechanism has taken shape, and the monthly meeting system designed for competent departments has been improving. Apart from the existing reserve of tents (12m2 each), the SDRC has beefed up the national disaster relief supplies with an additional purchase of 42,000 tents (36 m2 each) and 52,000 tents (8 m2 each). The project of the ground system for the moonlet constellation designed for environment and disaster monitoring has been approved by the State Council and put to work, marking remarkable sci-tech advancement in disaster reduction efforts. Community-based Disaster Reduction Outreach Campaign has been launched, handbook series of Save Yourself From Disaster published and TV promotion of Emergency Rescue broadcast,all of which have gone a long way with enhancing the public awareness. As part of the endeavors to bring closer and stronger international cooperation, China has been a signing party to The SCO Agreement on Inter-governmental Mutual Assistance for Disaster Relief, attended World Disaster Reduction Conference and sponsored the Asian Conference on Disaster Reduction, the first ministerial meeting of its kind in Asia. On top of that, China has provided relevant training programs for 31 officials from 11 tsunami-hit countries and organized governmental and non-governmental donation programs in the wake of the earthquake-turned tsunami in the Indian Ocean and the devastating earthquake in Pakistan.

3. Donation drive

Donation drives in 2005 have been launched largely in three stages:

First, we have galvanized the civil society into action in outpouring their compassion and generosity in the wake of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Altogether 656 million yuan has been registered as donations from the civil society. Part of the donations has reached the affected areas in cash, while the remaining is under the care of China Charity Federation and Red Cross Society of China. Currently the two organizations are working on rehabilitation and reconstruction projects in the affected areas in lockstep with established relief programs.

Second, “Donation Month” drive has been inaugurated in October and the “one-to-one” initiative at the provincial level has been facilitated. As part of the two initiatives, Beijing offered Jiangxi 100, 000 yuan in cash and donated 890,000 pieces, 1.02 million pieces and 300,000 pieces of clothing and quilts to Jiangxi, Inner Mongolia and Anhui respectively; Tianjin donated 2.09 million pieces of clothing and quilts to Gansu and Chengde of Hebei; Shanghai donated 7.31 million pieces of clothing and quilts to Yunnan and Sichuan; Jiangsu donated 1 million yuan in cash and 400,000 in kind to Shannxi; Zhejiang, including Ningbo City, donated 1.5 million yuan in cash and 1.5 million in kind to Ningxia and offered 730,000 in kind to Guizhou; Shandong donated one million yuan to Xinjiang; Guangdong donated 870,000 in kind to Guangxi; Dalian donated eight million yuan to Guizhou; Shenzhen donated 1.38 million in kind to Guizhou and Qingdao donated 1.02 million and 1.13 million in kind to Yunnan and Ningxia respectively. Third, various localities have carried out diversified donation drives featuring the theme of “winter clothing warms the heart” in response to the initiative proposed by General Secretary Hu Jintao, which requires the CPC members working with the ministries and commissions of the State Council pioneer in building a loving and caring community. Statistics by December 29 indicates that the CPC members have pooled 40.05 million yuan in cash and 520, 000 in kind (see Chart 2 for recipient information). Donation programs nationwide are in progress, and the donations in both cash and kind are on the way or have been made available to those affected. The incomplete statistics shows that the civil affairs departments at every level have registered two billion yuan in cash and 23 million pieces in kind in 2005. So far the donations both in cash and kind received from the CPC compassion drive have reached the hands of the needy, and the donations in both cash and kind from the civil society are on the way or have been made available to those affected. 20 million people in the affected areas are now benefiting from the drives and programs.

The incomplete statistics shows that the civil affairs departments at every level have registered 2.1 billion yuan in cash and 53.5 million pieces in kind in 2005. These donations have been central to helping the needy and those affected in urban and rural areas to tide over their difficulties and rebuild their homes.

Chart 2 Distributions of donations from CPC compassion drive


Donation in Cash
1,000 yuan

Donation in Kind
(1,000 pcs)










Inner Mongolia































































(China Development Gateway January 5, 2006)

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