More than 270 homeless after northwest China blaze

19:16, January 10, 2011      

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Tents have been erected, and food and quilts distributed to more than 270 people from an ethnic Tibetan village in northwest China's Gansu Province.

The Zhouqu County government has sent 70 tents and ordered food and daily necessities for people from Qawa village who were left homeless after their houses were damaged in a blaze on Sunday.

"No one suffered from the cold despite being homeless," Zhou Shiyu, an official from Chagang township, where the village is located, told reporters Monday.

Zhou said the government helped to arrange for most of the homeless, the elderly and children in particular, to live with relatives and friends whose houses were not damaged in the fire.

The Zhouqu County government had given a relief payment of 500 yuan (75 U.S. dollars) to each person made homeless by the fire.

The Zhouqu Construction Bureau Monday dispatched a work team to the village to draw up a reconstruction plan, said a spokesman for the county government.

A total of 613 rooms were damaged in the fire, which left 279 of the 778 villagers homeless.

The fire was extinguished at 3 p.m. Sunday, and no casualties were reported.

An initial investigation indicated that a short circuit in one of the houses might have caused the fire.

Han Mianguo, who lost everything in his five-room home except for a television, a blanket and a kettle, said he stayed the night in a tent while the other seven members of his family stayed with relatives.

"I am going to clear the home today, but I need help from the government in rebuilding," Han told reporters outside his tent on Monday.

A massive mudslide left 1,510 people dead and 255 others missing in Zhouqu County in August last year, but Qawa village was not affected by it.

Source: Xinhua

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