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Geological disaster warning system avoids over 30,000 deaths, injuries in 2004
2005-02-06 06:21:07 XinhuaEnglish

CHONGQING, Feb. 6(Xinhuanet)-- Chongqing, a municipality in southwest China, forecast 460 geological disasters in 2004, preventing more than 32,931 people from being killed or injured and 353 million yuan(42.5 million US dollars) in property damage.

Local government sources said torrential rains swept the city's Wanzhou Distric
t in early September, causing a landslide in the district's Ji'an Village that killed one villager and injured another. Geologists detected a two-sq-km section of the mountain ready to slide over an area with more than 320 local residents of 68 households and more than 400 highway workers. Thanks to the forecast, the people were evacuated before more landslides occurred.

The sources said that over the past few years, Chongqing focused more efforts on improving its geological disaster control and warning system, including in the area of the massive Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River.

The State Council, China's cabinet, designated Chongqing as one of the major cities and the Three Gorges Dam area as one of the major areas for earthquake monitoring on the Chinese mainland in 1996. The city was among the top four geological-disaster-prone regions in the country.

Geological disasters kill 40-60 people in Chongqing and cause direct economic losses of approximately 300-400 million yuan(36.1-48.2 million US dollars) per year, more than 20 percent of the total caused by all natural disasters in the city.

At the end of 2003, there were 8,301 geological-disaster-prone areas in Chongqing.

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