Shanghai to have disaster shelters in 30 parks

08:49, March 30, 2011      

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More than two weeks after an earthquake and a tsunami struck Japan, the Shanghai government said it plans to better deal with disasters by building emergency shelters in 30 parks within five years.

According to a plan released by the Shanghai municipal greening and city appearance bureau, 500 million yuan ($76 million) will be spent on converting parts of 30 parks into emergency shelters by 2016. The goal of the project is to ensure local residents will be able to find space to live in during sudden disasters.

As a part of Shanghai's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), new emergency shelters will be set up in 16 parks, while existing shelters in another 14 parks will undergo renovations.

Additional toilets, signs and benches will be built in the shelters, and new video-surveillance devices and digital screen displays, used to broadcast the latest information about an emergency, will be installed. The shelters will be places where refuse can be taken for recycling, where rainwater will be collected for reuse, and where solar energy will be used to power lights.

An early example of what the plan is meant to accomplish can be found at Green Park on Dalian Road, which is the first experimental emergency shelter under construction in Shanghai.

Local experts said the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan, which harmed at least 260,000 people, has given Shanghai much to think about and learn from.

"Japan's lack of food and lack of temporary lodging spaces after the earthquake can provide lessons to Shanghai," said Han Xin, assistant director of Shanghai Institute of Disaster Prevention and Relief. "We must improve our ability to store food and develop contingency measures for disasters."

Zhou Chi, a local resident who lives near to Zhongshan Park, one of the parks included in the plan, said he is glad to know that there will be an emergency shelter near his home.

He said the municipal government is wise to try to learn from the earthquake in Japan.

Source: China Daily
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