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Cities to upgrade severe weather risk assessment

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-09 11:24

BEIJING - Meteorological experts on Thursday called for urban planners to improve the way they assess severe weather risks.

Many cities, especially small and medium-sized cities, are not capable of preparing properly for extreme weather, such as heavy rain and heat waves that have swept many parts of China this summer, said Jiang Tong, a research fellow with the National Climate Center under the China Meteorological Administration.

Since 1990, severe weather has caused increasing damage in small and medium-sized cities, Jiang said, adding that such weather may cause even more damage in the future, as urbanization is continuing to expand.

Jiang said severe weather risk assessments should be included as part of urban planning tasks.

"We are lobbying for legislation that will require municipal development plans to include risk assessments and management procedures for severe weather," Jiang said.

Li Zechun, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said cities should use more of their resources to prevent the damage caused by severe weather.

"The most important thing is to think a step ahead instead of remedying the damage after it has already been done," he said.

Better contingency plans and early warning systems should be created, he said.

A number of cities have suffered from floods during rainy seasons in recent years. In July, flooding caused by record rainfall crippled the transportation network of Kunming, the capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province.

In July last year, the worst downpour to hit Beijing in six decades caused 77 deaths, submerged vehicles and flooded many homes, incurring direct economic losses of 11.6 billion yuan ($1.9 billion).

A summer heat wave that has been hitting South China since July has resulted in drinking water and electricity shortages.

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