Dams and Earthquakes

China to uproot 240,000 from disaster-prone areas

(May 7, 2011) Authorities plan to move nearly a quarter of a million people this year from disaster-prone areas in northern China into newly-built homes, state media reported Saturday.

About 240,000 will be moved in the first stage of a ten-year project to shift 2.4 million people away from less-developed mountainous areas in Shaanxi province, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The total number due to be relocated eclipses the more than 1.4 million people who were forced to move for the construction of central China’s Three Gorges Dam, the world’s biggest hydroelectric power project.

Overall, the project encompasses 28 counties, including the cities of Hanzhong, Ankang and Shangluo in the province’s south, Wang Dengji, head of the provincial land and resources department was quoted as saying.

The relocation project is expected to cost more than 110 billion yuan ($16.9 billion), Xinhua reported, citing a plan by Wang’s department.

Areas in Shaanxi suffer from disasters such as flooding and landslides. In July, rain-triggered disasters killed nearly 300 people in the province.

The resettled families will either be assigned new homes by the government or have to build them themselves, the report said. Each family will receive a subsidy of 30,000 yuan, with the poorest getting an additional 10,000 yuan.

After the Three Gorges relocation project, several of those displaced complained they did not receive their money and that local officials embezzled millions of yuan in relocation funds, according to human rights groups.

Agence France-Presse, May 7, 2011

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