• Communities should be at forefront of disaster reduction: experts
  • Xinhua 2010-05-13 15:32 anonymous
  • (Low carbon net news) China's disaster reduction experts called for efforts to beef up disaster response capacity of residential communities, on the National Day of Disaster Prevention and Reduction.

    "Communities should be at the forefront of disaster prevention and reduction," Shi Peijun, vice director of the board of experts of the National Commission for Disaster Reduction (NCDR), said Wednesday.

    "The disaster response capacity of communities is crucial to alleviating damage," said Shi.

    May 12 has been designated as the National Day of Disaster Prevention and Reduction, following the 8.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Wenchuan, in southwest China's Sichuan Province on May 12, 2008.

    This year's disaster reduction day spotlights efforts made at the community level in response to natural disasters.

    Another expert with the NCDR, Zheng Gongcheng, said many communities are very disorganized, which jeopardizes future disaster reduction efforts.

    "With a large mobile population, many urban dwellers do not even know their neighbors, which might hamper rescue efforts when an emergency occurs," said Zheng, calling upon residents in the same communities to reach out to each other.

    Shi Peijun also advocated that schools play a bigger role in disaster reduction. "Schools should teach students about disaster prevention and reduction. Schools should also be a place for shelter when a disaster hits."

    In 2007, China incorporated the disaster response into a five year plan, according to which China will establish 1,000 exemplary community networks for disaster reduction across the nation.

    According to NCDR, residents in such community networks are well informed about exit routes and shelters to go to when a natural disaster strikes. These communities are equipped with emergency aid facilities, and each household in such communities are equipped with torches, first aid toolkits and so forth.

    To date, 687 such community networks have been established in China, according to NCDR.