China will launch three small disaster-monitoring satellites in 2007, which is to form an all-around disaster-forecasting network with another five satellites to be shot in 2010, said a ministerial official Monday.
"Based on the network, China will construct a ground-to-air satellite constellation system for disaster-forecasting and -monitoring in 2010 when another five satellites is to be shot into the air."
Wang Zhenyao, director of the disaster relief department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, made the above statement at a training session on disaster management jointly sponsored by China's Ministry of Civil Affairs and the International Civil Defense Organization.
"Since 2001, especially after 2003, China's disaster-relief system has developed fast, with many technological elements injected," said Wang.
During the 1990s, a proposal on the building of a satellite constellation system monitoring and forecasting disasters was put forward by the State Environmental Protection Administration of China, the National Commission for Disaster Reduction and the China Aerospace Corporation Organization
The satellite constellation system is listed as a key in civilian satellite development in "China Space Development White Paper" published in 2001. In February 2003, China's State Council approved the satellite constellation project.
Wang said the satellite constellation system is the most advanced and complicated of the kind up to date in China.
Currently, China has more than 2,000 environment-monitoring stations nationwide which produce about 30 million environment monitoring-related data.
"However, China's disaster-monitoring means is still backward," Wang said.
China is one of the most frequent disaster-hit countries in the world, with about 200 million victims of various natural disasters every year.
Natural disasters occurred in China caused 2,475 deaths and 204.2 billion yuan (US$25.5 billion) of direct losses in 2005.
(Xinhua News Agency August 22, 2006)