sharing the Olympic spirit
OLYMPICS/ Spotlight

Safe havens in Beijing
By Chen Bei Staff Writer
Updated: 2008-06-20 11:28


"The park can swiftly turn into a safe haven for some 253,000 residents in vicinity," explains Xu as she points to a loudspeaker that is disguised as a rock.

A sign for emergency shelters is seen inside Yuandadu Park, June 19, 2008. As a pilot project for China's emergency shelters, Yuandadu Park became a model for the capital's other 31 shelters. []

Xu adds the refuge has a relief command center equipped with broadcast capability, surveillance networks and communications system.

"With the help of these facilities, people affected could be efficiently accommodated," says Xu as she points to an outdoor lamp installed with a security camera. "The lamp also functions as a monitor, giving information for evacuation routes, relief goods dispatch and personnel management."

Some 10 meters away is a clearing, where a toddler is learning to walk under the guidance of her grandfather. Beside them is a sign, reading "Tent Areas" in both English and Chinese. According to Xu, the park has 39 such flat areas, which could be used for people to put up tents if an earthquake, fire or other catastrophes devastated their homes.

A graph shows the distribution of Beijing's 32 official outdoor places of refuge. [Xinhua] 

As a pilot project for China's emergency shelters, Yuandadu Park was completed in 2003 and then became a model for the capital's other shelters.

Other Emergency Shelters

The other parks mentioned below have similar facilities to Yuandadu Park, like backup wells, toilets, power generators, and areas for tents. They are located near Olympics venues or where many foreigners live and work.

Taiyanggong Park, Chaoyang District:
Some 5 km southeast of the Bird's Nest, it is about 15 minutes' drive from the Nest to the shelter. With facilities similar to Yuandadu Park, Taiyanggong Park can hold about 110,000 people.

Chaoyang Park, Chaoyang District:
In the north side of Chaoyang Park, where the Olympic Beach Volleyball stadium is located, the area can accommodate up to 153,000 residents. The park is also an ideal safe haven for surrounding office workers in the Central Business District.

Ritan Park, Chaoyang District:
Located in the middle of the capital's embassy district, Ritan Park is the first place for diplomatic staff of nearby embassies to seek shelter in case of disasters.

It can accommodate about 70,000 people.

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