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Care Workers and Disaster Specialists Needed
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China's charity and social welfare sectors require about 200,000 care workers to take care of orphans and disabled children, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

"According to the ministry's regulation one care worker should be responsible for two children so a total of 200,000 care workers are needed over the next few years," said ministry official Jia Xiaojiu.

Currently only about 8,000 care workers serve in the country's 224 orphanages, which along with around 1,200 social welfare institutions, have adopted 66,000 orphans, abandoned babies and disabled children.

Ministry statistics show China has 573,000 orphans. Most of them have been adopted by local families.

The central government added "care workers for orphans and disabled children" to China's list of new professions this month aiming to guide the development of occupational education and training.

Chinese medical colleges are starting to offer "care worker" majors to university and vocational school students.

And the country still requires 100,000 more "disaster information consultants" to improve the nation's response to natural disasters. "China currently has about 46,000 disaster information consultants but more than 150,000 are needed to cover every village in the country," said a ministry spokesman.

After a year in which China was battered by typhoons and hit by drought the need to improve the country's response to natural disasters has become paramount. "The consultants will strengthen grass-roots reporting of, and response to, natural disasters and help build a village-level natural disaster reporting system which can collect and analyze information," said the spokesman.

Natural disasters affecting China in 2006 killed 3,186 people and caused direct losses of 253 billion yuan (US$35 billion). These arer the highest figures in eight years.

(Xinhua News Agency January 22, 2007)

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