Thursday, August 14, 2008

Official: Wenchuan quake

The massive May 12 earthquake centered in Wenchuan County in the southwestern province of Sichuan had no direct link with the development of water resources in Sichuan, such as dams, a Chinese official said on Wednesday.

The county seat of Wenchuan lies atop fault lines and Wenchuan is historically earthquake-prone, said Cheng Dianlong, deputy chief of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

Before the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in May, Wenchuan had been hit by three earthquakes measuring above 7.0 on the Richter scale in modern times -- in 1933, 1967 and 1972 respectively -- he told a press conference.

Cheng made the remarks in response to a foreign reporter's questions over the impact of the construction of many reservoirs and dams, and whether the Wenchuan quake was related to such projects in Sichuan.

China's water resources are not evenly distributed and the country needs to build water projects to make better use of them, he said. The government has paid increasing attention to environmental protection in developing projects.

The Wenchuan earthquake is known to have killed more than 69,000 people, and 18,176 people are still listed as missing.


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