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China to relocate 1.4m people away from geological threats

Updated: Jan 19,2017 2:27 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Some 400,000 families, or 1.4 million people, living in areas known to be geological disaster hot spots will be relocated, according to a government plan released on Jan 18.

These families live in areas where geological disasters cannot be prevented or reduced through human intervention, according to the plan, and they will be moved by the end of 2020.

Throughout the 2016-2020 period, measures will be taken to address geological risks such as gullies or slopes with loose debris or landslide hazards, and protection projects will be launched in populated areas.

Groundwater exploitation will be outlawed in areas with serious subsidence or ground fissures, according to the plan, and the geological authorities will ascertain potential hazards that may result in loss of life or earnings.

China has suffered some of the world’s worst geological disasters, as 65 percent of its landmass is mountainous or hilly. From 2011 to 2015, China saw more than 60,000 geological disasters, killing 2,008 people and causing losses in excess of 20 billion yuan (about $2.9 billion), according to the Ministry of Land and Resources.