After a year in which China was battered by typhoons and plagued with drought, a new profession -- disaster information consultants -- has been added to China's list of professions, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.
"China has been hit by a series of natural disasters in the last few years, causing huge losses. Disaster information consultants will strengthen grass-roots reporting of and response to natural disasters. They will help us build a village-level natural disaster reporting system which can collect and analyze disaster information," said a ministry spokesman.
In 2006 China witnessed typhoons, floods, droughts, winds and hail, earthquakes, snow and marine disasters, landslides, mud-rock flows, plant diseases and insect pests.
Natural disasters across China killed 3,186 people in 2006, causing direct losses of 253 billion yuan (US$35 billion), the most serious in eight years.
The government spent 11 billion yuan on disaster relief in 2006 and civil donations totaled 3.6 billion yuan.
The ministry has updated its list of newly-emerging occupations to include ten new professions. Besides disaster information consultants, other new professions include exhibition designer, sign language interpreter, quality inspectors of synthetic materials, interior designers and care worker for orphans and disabled children.
This is the eighth time China has added new occupations to the standard occupation list, bringing the number of new occupations to 84 since the list was started in 2004.
(Xinhua News Agency January 15, 2007)