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China needs to upgrade tsunami mitigation capacity

(Guangming Daily)

15:35, October 20, 2011

Edited and translated by Yao Chun, People's Daily Online

Though China has preliminarily established a tsunami prevention, mitigation and relief system suitable for national circumstances, there are still shortcomings relative to the systems of developed countries such as Japan and the United States, and it is urgent to quickly improve China's tsunami prevention and mitigation capacity, said Xu Guang, the chief engineer of the Ministry of Transport of China, on Oct. 20 at the Sino-Japanese Symposium On Tsunami Prevention held in Shanghai.

Most of China's coastal areas are located in the circum-Pacific earthquake zone and can be possibly affected by a tsunami. Waterway transport infrastructure, coastal piers, breakwaters and other offshore constructions are threatened by tsunami. Since China joined the International Pacific Tsunami Warning System in 1983, China started to do investigations in tsunami prevention and relief.

After the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, China increased the investment in scientific research and the development of tsunami monitoring and warning. After so many years of discovery and practice, China has preliminarily established a tsunami prevention, mitigation and relief system suitable for national circumstances and has included the development of tsunami risk assessment technology and early warning systems in the national 12th Five-Year Plan.

However, compared with developed countries such as Japan and U.S. the general level of tsunami warning and disaster prevention of China is still very low and there is an obvious lack of advanced equipment, such as buoys and satellite remote sensing. The tsunami early warning system construction is insufficient. Disaster prevention and disaster reduction education still lag behind. Coastal regional social and economic planning, large-scale engineering design and construction have not taken into sufficient consideration potential tsunami hazards.

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