Press Release

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Contact Wendy Guan
UNDP
Tel. 6532-3731x226
27 February 1998

United Nations, Beijing CHINA

UN Workshops on Geomagnetic Technology to Forecast Earthquakes and Weather Disasters

BEIJING, 28 February 1998 (United Nations Development Programme, China) - Two February week-long workshops in Beijing, China, have showcased cutting-edge technology developed by Chinese geomagnetic scientists to forecast destructive earthquakes and deadly storms. The first intensive workshop took place from 14-20 February 1998 and brought together representatives from 14 disaster-prone countries from the regions of Asia-Pacific, Latin and North America, Europe and CIS, to learn advanced techniques that reveal geomagnetic signals prior to earthquakes and weather disasters.

Recommendations from the international workshop point to the improvement of geomagnetic observatories around the world, particularly in disaster-prone areas, so that rapid communications regarding unusual geomagnetic observations become possible. An additional recommendation is the establishment of an international center to promote geomagnetic methods in the forecasting of natural disasters.

The international meeting was directly followed by a national workshop from 23-28 February 1998, which gathered 50 representatives from nearly all the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities of China. The aim of the national meeting is to implement immediately the new geomagnetic technology at the local level throughout the country.

An important goal of the two-workshop initiative is to increase the capacity of countries to anticipate and prepare for large and sudden natural disasters. Within a matter of months, participants of the two workshops will be able to verify whether geomagnetic precursors to earthquakes and weather disasters exist and whether a global observation network for monitoring such precursors is viable.

The United Nations Development Programme and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York joined their resources to organize the two workshops, which were jointly hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the State Seismological Bureau of China.

For further information, contact Jeanne-Marie Col, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, New York (tel: 1-212-963-8377; fax: 1-212-963-2916; e-mail:col@un.org) and/or Jean J. Chu at UNDP/Beijing (tel: 86-10-6532-3731 ext. 339; fax: 86-10-6532-2567) or at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (tel: 86-10-6237-5167, -5165; fax: 86-10-6237-5167; e-mail: wendyxu@public3.bta.net.cn). The UN Global Programme's web site on the Internet is located at http://www.globalwatch.org/ungp/.

UNDP, 2 Liangmahe Nanlu, 100600 Tel. (86-10) 6532-3731; Fax. (86-10) 6532-2567