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Conference aiming to address disaster
By Wu Chong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-24 05:14

SUZHOU: In the face of increasingly disturbing natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and tsunamis, the International Council of Science (ICSU) has set up a new programme to try to mitigate natural and human-induced hazards.

It will focus on how scientific knowledge can be used to create and adapt policies regarding natural hazards and disasters, said Peter Collins, programme supervisor with the ICSU, a non-governmental organization.

The council is holding its 28th General Assembly in China, which concludes today.

"A lot of research has been done on how to deal with natural disasters, but we need to persuade policy makers to be aware of these studies in order to better prevent any possible hazards," Collins said.

He noted the programme will combine both natural and social sciences, and will invite policymakers to get involved.

The ICSU has reported that recent disasters in the United States and Asia are not anomalies but are part of a long-term and dramatic increase in natural disasters.

Between 1900 and 2000, recorded natural disasters rose from 100 to 2,800 per decade, it said.

In 2004, natural disasters caused US$140 billion in damage globally. That figure is likely to rise this year.

Zhu Jinning from the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology said Chinese scientists hope the programme can strengthen interaction between scientists and policymakers and give more information about non-communicable diseases.

The ICSU assembly this year has attracted more than 200 scientists from 62 countries and regions.

(China Daily 10/24/2005 page2)

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