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Relocated villagers adapt to new life out of mountains


10:22, September 25, 2011

SHANGLUO, Shaanxi, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Zhang Changhe sits on the porch of his new two-story brick house, basking in the sun after weeks of gloomy rainy days.

Rainstorms have pelted Zhang's hometown in northwest China's Shaanxi Province for two weeks till just one day ago. But this year, 46-year-old Zhang does not have to worry that persistent rains will wash away his home again.

Zhang was part of a migration project, the largest of its kind in China to move people out of disaster-prone areas and regions that are both remote and poor.

The number of people involved in the project -- launched by the Shaanxi government in April -- is about twice the amount relocated to make way for the country's Three Gorges Dam.

Over the next 10 years, 2.4 million people living in Shaanxi's southern mountainous region will be moved to safe areas, while another 400,000 will be relocated from its drought-ravaged northern part.

The province's south has suffered over 2,000 geological disasters over the past 10 years and nearly 600 people died because of them, said Li Qiang, an official with the province's land resources department.

Rain-triggered disasters last July alone killed over 200 people in Shaanxi, the worst tragedy of its kind in the region in years, which ultimately pushed the provincial government to launch the massive migration project.

Zhang's mud-and-wood cottage in a valley was destroyed by a landslide on July 23, 2010. The homes of 23 other families in the valley also collapsed in the rain or were washed away by landslides.

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