Chinese earthquake rescuers need better equipment, officials say

10:25, October 14, 2009      

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Most of Chinese provinces have established earthquake rescue teams, but a lack of advanced facilities and expertise constrained their disaster-relief capacities, officials said here Tuesday.

Liu Yuchen, deputy director of the China Earthquake Administration, told an international seminar on disaster reduction that provincial-level earthquake rescue teams have been set up in 27 of 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions on the Chinese mainland.

Although the teams have been playing a precious role in saving lives, they still lack experience in dealing with extreme situations following big disasters such as the magnitude-8.0 earthquake in Sichuan Province on May 12, last year, in which nearly 88,000 people were killed or missing.

The teams were also insufficiently equipped with advanced machines to remove heavy debris, which are crucial for rescuers to save people in short time, Liu said.

Since China is vulnerable to frequent earthquakes and many other natural disasters, the country should invest more in professional rescue teams in order to remarkably improve disaster relief work, Liu said.

Zou Ming, an official with the State Disaster Relief Commission, suggested that Chinese businesses be encouraged to invest in new technology and products for disaster reduction.

A lot of new technologies have yet been turned into products due to the reluctance of enterprises to provide funds at present, Zou said.

The forum on the eve of the 20th International Day for Disaster Reduction is aimed at seeking policy and business solutions for the disaster relief sector.

Source: Xinhua
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