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Xi says life in Lushan will get better

By CHEN XIN  (China Daily)

08:14, May 22, 2013

President Xi Jinping visited Lushan county in Sichuan province on Tuesday, one month after it was hit by a magnitude-7 earthquake.

Xi visited a gymnasium that was used as a temporary shelter for quake-affected residents.

"I have been very concerned about you since the quake happened," he told the people sheltered there, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Xi greeted local resident Chen Deqiong, who has been living in a tent with her seven other family members.

He asked Chen about the availability of food and water, electricity and sanitation facilities at the shelter, as well as the living subsidy provided.

Xi told residents that tents are just a transitional place to live, and said living conditions in Lushan would get better. He also stressed the scientific planning and implementation of the reconstruction work.

"We should work together to rebuild a safe and beautiful home," he said.

Wu Jing, who serves as temporary Party chief of the shelter at the gymnasium, said it was built on the day of the quake and still houses nearly 3,000 residents.

"People living in the shelter have no problem accessing food or water for drinking and bathing. There are more than 20 medical workers at the shelter," she said.

Wu said every student, farmer and unemployed urban resident would receive a 10 yuan ($1.63) living subsidy and half a kilogram of rice every day.

The local government has begun to allocate subsidies for residents, she said.

Every rural household will receive 1,000 to 5,000 yuan and every urban resident will receive 1,000 to 8,000 yuan to repair their destroyed houses. The extent of the damage to a house would determine the amount of the subsidy.

For residents whose houses were destroyed beyond repair, the government will provide them with rent money. Later on, those residents can also benefit from the subsidy to rebuild their houses, Wu said.

"We are also studying favorable loan policies for residents to help ease the burden in rebuilding their homes," she said, predicting that all the shelter’s residents would leave within a month.

"The reconstruction may start in July as we have submitted a preliminary reconstruction plan of the county to a superior authority."

The magnitude-7 earthquake struck Lushan on April 20, leaving at least 196 dead and affecting the lives of an estimated 2 million others.

Premier Li Keqiang has repeatedly urged the implementation of a timely reconstruction plan in Lushan at executive meetings of the State Council following the disaster.

He has also pushed for a factual evaluation of the disaster, measures to provide those affected with basic living supplies, the restoration of agricultural infrastructure and the resumption of operations of schools and medical institutions.

On Tuesday, the Chinese Academy of Sciences said it had carried out an evaluation of the conditions of resources and the environment in Lushan following the earthquake.

The evaluation will lay the foundation for the formulation of a reconstruction plan for the quake-hit area, the academy said in an article on its website.

A team of 60 scientists from the academy was sent to assess water and land resources, natural disaster risks, the status of the ecosystem and the environment as well as economic development in the quake-hit area.

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