Jan. 7 (China Dialogue/by Jiang Gaoming): Last year’s deadly mudslide at Drugchu (Chinese: Zhouqu) county in Gansu Province offers compelling lessons on the ability of human development to increase the risk of natural disasters. Unchecked tree felling and trading eventually led to the county’s forestry resources diminishing by 100,000 cubic metres per year. In addition to deforestation, widespread construction of hydropower dams has contributed to the area’s vulnerability.
Drugchu exploited its mountains, its water and its rivers and, in return, suffered a powerful mudslide. This is the national ecological disaster in microcosm. China endured 26,000 geological disasters from Jan. to July 2010, nearly four times as many as the same period in 2009.
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