One year after the devastating Wenchuan earthquake, China is stepping up efforts to develop a disaster forecast system. Chinese officials say an experimental earthquake alert system will be able to send out warnings seconds before a quake strikes.
China is one of the countries in the world that suffers serious earthquakes and natural disasters. An effective forecasting and alerting system is needed to reduce the potential damage.
The Chinese government issued a White Paper on Monday on the country's actions to prevent and reduce disasters.
Officials from the China Seismological Bureau said a new system is expected to cover quake-prone regions across the country. Once established, it could send warnings before a quake occurred, though only at very short notice.
Du Wei, deputy director of quake Prevention Dept., China Seismological Bureau, said, "Though the time can be extremely limited, we believe it's vital for minimizing casualties and economic losses. We will spare no effort to promote technology development in this field, and its application in the active quake areas."
Du Wei, an official from China Seismological Bureau introduced the new system. Warnings can be sent to the area of the epicenter seconds before a quake occurs on land. In the case of under-sea quakes it can take one to three minutes for the signals to reach populated areas.
But he said the alert system was still experimental and needed adjustments and improvement.
China is also building a three-dimensional natural disaster monitoring system, covering ocean, land and air
Du Wei said the country is also planning to launch satellites that can monitor and gather accurate data relating to earthquakes.
On the ground, almost 2,000 seismic stations have been built for real-time monitoring of quakes above 3.0 on the Richter scale. And a high-speed seismic data network has been set up at national and provincial level.
(CCTV May 12, 2009)