The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters of China has called for more attention to be paid to the safety of reservoirs following reports that 68 dykes collapse every year, causing casualties and economic losses.
From 1954 to 2005 dykes collapsed at 3,486 reservoirs across China, said Secretary General E Jingping, who is also vice minister of water resources. There are 85,160 reservoirs in the country.
"A dyke collapse may kill more people and cause more losses than a tsunami or a strong earthquake," he said.
He said 26,000 people were killed when dykes collapsed at Banqiao and Shimantan reservoirs in central China's Henan Province in August 1975.
The official also attributed the dyke collapses to the poor quality and management of reservoirs and their personnel's lack of responsibility.
The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has made films and compiled brochures on disaster prevention and have begun to distribute them to reservoirs.
(Xinhua News Agency June 3, 2006)