Mainland needs to face landslide threat: geologist

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 August, 2006, 12:00am

Landslides have caused most of the deaths in this year's floods and mainland authorities should do more to stabilise hillsides, a prominent geologist has warned.

E Jingping, secretary-general of the National Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, told an online forum yesterday that heavy rain and resulting floods this year killed at least 1,231 people, more than 90 per cent of whom died in landslides.

'Landslides and mud pouring over houses have become the deadliest aspects of the flood menace throughout China in recent years,' he said.

Mr E said he worried about dams collapsing, adding a third of the mainland's 8,500 dams could be dangerous after heavy rainfall.

'[I'm] most afraid of receiving telephone calls in the middle of the night and I am most worried about dams collapsing,' he said.

Mr E said that more than 120 million people had been affected by flooding in 29 regions this year and 650,000 houses had collapsed, with economic losses totalling 92 billion yuan.

Zheng Zhichang , director of the Guangzhou Maritime Geological Survey, warned that further destruction of the environment in the name of industrial development would lead to more landslide deaths.

At least three more large-scale storms are forecast to hit the mainland this month, and two could arrive this week. At least 80 people have died in the southern part of the mainland following Typhoon Prapiroon.