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In the path of destruction(2)

2013-12-11 10:09 Global Times Web Editor: Wang Fan

Preparing for destruction

"The areas for falling debris are always less-populated, so that losses can be minimized," Hu Haifeng, a designer with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, told the Global Times on Saturday.

"The satellite launch center informs relevant areas about the launch times and falling locations in advance," Hu noted.

The December 2 blast covered an area populated by 160,000 people and 700 square kilometers in 11 townships in Suining, according to statistics from Zeng.

After receiving the notice, local authorities organize the villagers for evacuations. By 3 pm on December 1, the county had organized more than 1,100 community volunteers and local officials to inform every resident and conduct evacuation drills. Then, prior to 12 pm on December 2, locals were evacuated for a period of one hour, he said.

"The compensation ranges from 100,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan, then there's the cost of dispatching community groups, which places great pressure on our poverty-stricken county" Zeng said, adding that he wishes that the central government should publish codified compensation standards.

Huang, the Party chief, claimed that all the villagers are "satisfied" with the compensation and support the cause of national defense. Yang Gu said the compensation for their parents did not reach their expectations of 20,000 yuan.

"Without unified compensation standards, authorities have a dominant position in such negotiations, which is unfair for the public," Ren Zili, a law professor with Beijing University of Aeronautics &Astronautics, told the Global Times. "This won't solve the problems caused by debris falling into a densely populated area."

Insurance as a solution

Third party liability insurance should be introduced to solve these problems by offering specific protections based on market mechanisms, Ren suggested.

If the maximum amount of insurance coverage can't cover all the losses, the rest of the compensation could be provided by the government, he said.

"Using insurance, the government would have less of a financial burden and victims could get fairer compensation," Ren said. "But Chinese authorities have gotten used to solving specific problems with special methods, instead of the establishment of long-term mechanisms."

Ren further noted the exact amount of compensation requires further negotiations between insurance companies and the government.

The compensation model proposed by Ren is already used in the US.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Act published on NASA's website, the administration may deem it appropriate to provide liability insurance for any user of a space vehicle to compensate all or a portion of claims by third parties for death, bodily injury, or damage to property resulting from activities in connection with the launch, operations, or recovery of the space vehicle.

Other developed countries, including Australia and the UK, have similar regulations, according to Ren.

Tuo Guozhu, a professor from the Capital University of Economics and Business, told the Global Times that residents in Suining county could buy housing insurance in case their houses are damaged by any external force or natural disasters.

"The compensation of the farmers' house insurance ranges from 10,000 yuan to 40,000 yuan and could be bought by both farmers and local governments," Tuo said.

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