The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has urged cities across the country to keep extra copies of local urban planning files in other localities to preserve data against emergencies and disasters.
In the devastating May 12 earthquake in southwest China, such files in many regions, including Wenchuan, Beichuan and Pingwu, were either buried, destroyed or severely damaged.
The ability to salvage such files in some places, however, contributed much to repairing and restoring infrastructure facilities such as water and sewage systems and natural gas pipelines and reinforcing houses.
Learning from the disaster, the ministry last week asked relevant officials to promote the digitalization of such data and keep back-up copies elsewhere in the country to guard against possible losses.
The ministry also urged local archivists to print out catalogues of urban planning files regularly and retain them to make sure that such files could be immediately found in case of emergency.
Nearly two months after the magnitude-8.0 quake, which had left 69,195 dead as of Thursday noon, China is engaged in the daunting task of rebuilding the region for millions of homeless.
(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2008)