Chinese official urges disaster training for rural 'left-behind'

Chinese official urges disaster training for rural 'left-behind'
A new urban dweller in Anhui province planting vegetables in an open area. With many men having left for better-paying jobs in cities, their wives and elderly parents are left behind to farm land and raise their children.

NANCHANG - A Chinese official on Thursday called for more training preparing the country's "left-behind" rural population for natural disasters.

Citing United Nations data, Lai Hongzhou, with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said that female casualties far outnumber those of men in rural areas of developing countries following natural disasters.

It is also the case in China's countryside, with many men having left for better-paying jobs in cities, leaving behind their wives and elderly parents to farm land and raise their children. Such groups are usually more fragile when disasters hit, Lai noted at a seminar on disaster management in east China's Jiangxi Province.

"Thus, it is particularly important that we conduct training to raise their disaster preparedness and response capacity," he urged.

According to government data, China has more than 47 million left-behind rural women, while its number of left-behind children stands at nearly 100 million.

Lai suggested that local governments strengthen interaction with rural women and children and cooperate with social and charity groups. The government can either purchase their services or guide their funds into disaster relief.

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