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[BEIJING] China will share its information, technology and expertise to forecast natural disasters and manage disaster response in other developing nations, a Chinese minister revealed.

Li Xueju, minister of civil affairs, made the remark this week (24 September) at a developing nations' ministerial meeting on disaster response management, according to Xinhua news agency.

Li said China is looking to establish an Asian research centre for major disasters, which will study the scientific causes of the region's natural disasters, policies for disaster prevention and mechanisms for international cooperation to reduce post-disaster impacts.

He added that China will share data obtained from its Fengyun-II weather satellite, remote sensing information from its environment-monitoring mini-satellites, and the observations of its seismological stations with other developing countries.


Existing international organisations, like the Asia-Europe Meeting, the China-Africa Forum and the UN could provide a good platform for international cooperation on disaster control, said Li. He proposed that such cooperation should become a major subject for international dialogue.

China has already cooperated with the UN secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction to establish an international drought relief centre, which opened in Beijing in April, according to Li.

China will also fund a training workshop on disaster response management for member countries of the International Civil Defence Organisation in October, along with another post-disaster reconstruction training course for developing countries in November.  

More than 50 government officials from developing countries attended the ministerial conference, held by the ministries of civil affairs and commerce in Beijing.

Preceding the ministerial meeting, an academic conference, the 2007 International Workshop on Natural Disasters and Emergency Management, also took place in Beijing (22–24 September).

Qu Guosheng, workshop chair and chief engineer of China's National Earthquake Response Support Service, says the successful experience of Chinese scientists and rescue teams during the earthquakes in Indonesia and Pakistan in 2005 show that China has already developed good infrastructure and skills in helping other nations in disaster prevention and management.

"Compared with rich nations, China has a similar development stage and closer social situation to other developing countries, which enable us to offer much more efficient assistance to them," Qu told SciDev.Net.

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