WUHAN, Jan. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- The natural disaster early warning system has saved thousands of lives and prevented huge economic losses in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, according to the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee on Wednesday.
By the end of 2005, the early warning system had given alarms for 244 landslides and mud-rock flows, leading to the translocation of 38,300 people and preventing economic losses estimated at 243 million yuan (30.3 million U.S. dollars), sources with the committee said.
The complicated geological and climatic conditions of the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, China's longest, mean that geological disasters, such as landslides and mud-rock flows, are a frequent occurrence. This has resulted in injuries and deaths to hundreds of people as well as huge economic losses every year.
Human activities such as deforestation or improper mining and construction also caused landslides and mud-rock flows.
The Yangtze River Water Resources Committee started the construction of the early warning system in 1991. The system currently monitors an area of 113,400 sq km and safeguards 300,000 residents along the river.
In 2005 alone, the early warning system helped to defuse dangerous conditions in 17 places and translocate 1,614 people, preventing economic losses of 11 million yuan (1.4 million dollars).