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Chinese Internet-based network to speed up publication of natural disaster data


13:54, November 02, 2011

BEIJING, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Ministry of Civil Affairs has launched a new information management network that allows community-level governments to directly report local natural disaster data to higher departments.

The system, which currently covers 3,746 villages and towns in the provinces of Hebei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Hubei and Guangdong, is expected to greatly boost information-sharing efficiency, according to a statement released Tuesday by the ministry's National Commission for Disaster Reduction.

Generally, data submitted by community-level governments must be handed over to higher departments on a level-by-level basis, creating problems for timeliness and accuracy.

The country has now 530,000 "messengers" working to report natural disaster information at the province, city, county and village levels, the statement said, adding that more workers will be employed in the area.

According to the statement, more items, including the number of flooded villages and seriously damaged houses, will be included in future disaster data collection.

The move was revealed in the statement as part of a newly revised National Emergency Plan for Natural Disasters that was made public Tuesday.

Specifying detailed responsibilities for various government departments, the revised plan stipulates that local governments should first issue emergency responses in the face of a natural disaster. Related central government departments should launch state-level responses if the damage incurred by a disaster exceeds the capacity of local governments.

In addition, the National Commission for Disaster Reduction is responsible for communicating with related central and local departments and organizing the evaluation and analysis of disaster situations, as well as rescue and aid work, said the statement.

Official statistics show that natural disasters left 1,074 people dead or missing in the country over the first nine months this year, affected480 million people nationwide and resulting in a total of 302.8 billion yuan (47.7 billion U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses.

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