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School reconstruction starts in southwest China, official vows quake-proof guarantee
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21:42, May 11, 2009

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· 5.12
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Workers in southwest China's Sichuan Province started Monday rebuilding a leveled school in the May 12 earthquake last year on the eve of the disaster's anniversary.

More than 1,000 officials, workers and local residents witnessed the foundation-laying ceremony for the new buildings of the Yingxiu Township primary school.

Officials said the project marked the beginning of reconstructing Yingxiu Township, the epicenter of the 8.0-magnitude quake that left more than 87,000 people dead or missing.

Yingxiu lost about 6,000 of its 16,000 population in the quake. More than 1,000 houses were devastated or collapsed.

The buildings of the primary school were leveled in the disaster, with about 200 students and teachers crushed to death.

With an investment of 29 million yuan (4.25 million U.S. dollars), the new school buildings will be completed in five months, said Liao Min, head of Wenchuan County which administers Yingxiu.

The new school stands in an open area facing its former site across the Minjiang River.

"The new six-story main building can withstand earthquakes measuring up to 9.0 magnitude on Richter scale," Liao said."Its new playground can hold residents in case of disasters."

Following the primary school, a kindergarten, a major township road and a bridge will also be built soon, Liao said. "We will use new materials to ensure all the projects are quake-proof and environmentally friendly."

Experts and officials spent nearly a year working out the reconstruction plan for the town. The reconstruction is estimated to cost two billion yuan.

Source: Xinhua



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