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On Accelerating the Construction of a Chinese-characterized Catastrophe Emergency Management System

 

---Address on the International Seminar on Post-Wenchuan Earthquake (5.12) Restoration and Reconstruction& Catastrophe Response

(Sept. 22, 2010)

by

Hong Yi, Vice Principal of the National Academy of Governance: Accelerating the Construction of a Chinese-characterized Catastrophe Emergency Management System

Distinguished Secretary Liu Qibao and Governor Jiang Jufeng,

Distinguished Mr. Nark and Ms. Wei Yingying,

Dear leaders and experts,

Ladies and Gentleman:

Good morning!

  Today is the Mid-autumn Day, a traditional festival of China. We gathered in the site of 5.12 Earthquake-- Sichuan to look deeply into catastrophe preparation and response, which has gained world-wide attention. This is of special significance. On behalf of the National Academy of Governance, I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations on the convening of the seminar, and express my heartfelt appreciation to all the comrades and friends from home and aborad for their great contribution to the victory in earthquake relief and post-disaster restoration and reconstruction. At the same time, I’d like to show my warm welcome to all the guests and friends attending this seminar.

  5.12 Wenchuan Earthquake in Sichuan had caused enormous damage to people’s life and property as well as the economic and social development in the stricken areas. Confronted with the unprecedented catastrophe, Chinese people, under the firm leadership of Chinese Government and with the strong support from governments, political parties, social organizations, embassies in China of various countries, as well as relevant organizations of the UN, international institutions, foreign-funded enterprises and international friends, united together, met the difficulty in the face, rescued as many lives as they could, reduced the losses as possibly as they could and created a touching heroic peaen, with unprecedentedly surprising willpower and courage, fast speed, wide mobilization scope and great resources. Through two years’ hard work, great effects have been gained in post-disaster restoration and reconstruction. All of these can supply valuable experience for human beings in coping with massive disasters.

  China is a country with the severest disasters of all kinds in the world. Because of the unique geographic and climate conditions, natural environment and basic national conditions, disasters in China are rich in variety, wide in distribution, high in frequency and can cause heavy losses. Since from the beginning of this year, many catastrophes have happened successively, including the catastrophic earthquake in Yushu, the debris flow in Zhouqu, the extensive and continuous drought and flood in South and North China, which have resulted in enormous losses to people’s life and property, and severely affected the economic and social development of China. Therefore, summing up the experience in handling catastrophes like Wenchuan Earthquake, and learning from the successful ways of various countries in coping with catastrophes will be of great value in accelerating the construction of a Chinese-characterized emergency management system and fully improving the capability and level in preparing for and responding to catastrophes of all kinds.

  Chinese Government has always attached great importance to catastrophe emergency management. In recent years, the Government has spared no effort in confronting various catastrophes, continuously summarized experience and explored the laws, and a Chinese-characterized catastrophe emergency management system has taken initial shape, which, however, does not meet the needs for effective catastrophe preparation and response, and improvements are still needed in many ways. Generally speaking, from now on, efforts should be made in the following four aspects so as to accelerate the construction of the Chinese-characterized catastrophe emergency management system:

  First, to promote the construction of the emergency management system, mechanism, the legal system and the planning system in an all-round way. Emphasis should be placed on the improvement of the comprehensive capability in catastrophe preparation and response, and the further smoothing of the emergency management system on various levels, so as to form a catastrophe emergency management system characterized by the State’s unity of command, response at different levels, diverse and united fight, public participation, quick response and effective operation. The establishment and perfection of mechanisms in the investigation and evaluation of catastrophe risk, monitoring and warning, information sharing, rescue and handling, restoration and reconstruction, social participation, regional cooperation, opinion orientation and international cooperation should be sped up. Special laws about the preparation for and response to catastrophes should be studied and formulated as soon as possible. The various existing individual laws and regulations and the auxiliary system should be perfected, and the legal system for catastrophe preparation and response should be completed. Researches, formulation and perfection of various disaster emergency plans should be further enhanced. The drill, evaluation and revision of plans for catastrophes should be launched in an all-round way, so as to constantly improve the scientification, instructiveness and operability of the plans. 

  Second, to enhance the development of fundamental capability in catastrophe emergency management. The catastrophe preparation and response should be listed into the construction and development plan for urban and rural areas. With lowering the weakness and strengthening the sustainability as the core, emphasis should be placed on enhancing the capability of various infrastructure, like electricity, transportation and communication, in preparing for and responding to catastrophes. The standard for disaster resistence in assembly occupancies, like schools, hospitals and large stores, should be improved. Efforts should be made to improve the fundamental capability in preparing for and responding to catastrophes through diversified effective measures, including establishing and completing various monitoring and warning systems, improving the resistence standard of infrastructure, enhancing the investment in equipment for catastrophe preparation and response, and highlighting education and training, etc. Scientific and technological investment in catastrophe preparation and response should be expanded. Resources and strength in earthquake, geology, water conservancy, oceans, aerospace and aviation should be integrated, so as to research the formation mechanism, distribution patterns and genetic conditions of catastrophes. Explorations in the scientific ways, methods and technology for catastrophe preparation and response should be launched. The fundamental capability and level for catastrophe preparation and response should be improved comprehensively.

  Third, to perfect the security system in catastrophe emergency management in an all-round way. Speed in perfecting the construction of catastrophe emergency material reserves and in optimizing the distribution of reserves should be increased. The varieties and quantities of reserves should be enriched. Trans-regional, trans-department and multi-industry collaborative security in emergency materials should be strengthened. The catastrophe emergency security capability should be fully improved. Efforts should be made to enhance the equipment configuration and strength enrichment, to quicken the development of professional and comprehensive State catastrophe emergency teams, to strengthen the R&D in catastrophe emergency technology and the construction of emergency management platform, to improve the scientification and informationalization in catastrophe preparation and response, to enlarge the capital investment in catastrophe emergency management, to accelerate the establishment of the diversified catastrophy risk prevention, solution and compensation mechanism with the joint participation of the State’s finance, banking, insurance and philanthropy, so as to form a diversified risk sharing mechanism and security system with the combination of forces from governments, enterprises, social organizations and citizens.

  Fourth, to improve the awareness and capability of the whole society in catastrophe preparation and response in an all-round way. We should further ehance the publicity of knowledge about various catastrophe preparation and response, promote the access of emergency knowledge, like disaster preparation, risk avoidance, self-rescue and mutual rescue, into communities, rural areas, enterprises and schools, so as to improve the social awareness of disasteral risk avoidance and the ability of self-rescue and mutural rescue. We should strenghten the teaching and training in catastrophe emergency management, focus on the improvement of leaders on various levels in their awareness of catastrophe preparation and response as well as their responding and handling ability. Efforts should be made in teaching and training social organizations and volunteer teams of all kinds, especially “the first response and relief teams”. We should improve the level of the teams’ organization and professionalism, and fully display their influence in catastrophe preparation and response. We should place more emphasis on multi-directional international communication and cooperation in catastrophe emergency management, learn from other countries’ successful methods and experience in catastrophe preparation and response, and improve the social capability and level in catastrophe response.

  Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

  At present, the global catastrophe preparation and response is shifting from the separate emergency management to the comprehensive emergency management, from post-emergency disposal to forecasting, warning, preparation and whole-course management, from the sole dependence on the government to the joint confrontation of governments, enterprises, social organizations and individual citizens, from the independent confrontation of one country to the collaborative confrontation of multiple countries. It is a major subject for all countries in the world, and also our common responsibility to start from reality, to establish and complete a scientific and effective catastrophe emergency management system, and to constantly improve the capability in catastrophe preparation and response. As a national base for emergency management teaching, training, scientific research consultation and international communication and cooperation set up by the Chinese Government, the National Academy of Governance is willing to exchange and cooperate with governments of other countries, relevant international organizations, training agencies, research institutions, companies and enterprises in catastrophe preparation and response, so as to work together to improve the global comprehensive capability in catastrophe preparation and response, and contribute to the promotion of a peaceful and harmonious development of human beings.

  Last, I sincerely wish the seminar a complete success!

  Thank you!

  

 
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