Working against the clock to build prefab houses in China's quake-hit Gansu

(Xinhua) 08:34, December 25, 2023

A quake-affected resident hangs the curtain in a prefabricated house at a temporary relocation site in Dahejia Township, Bonan-Dongxiang-Salar Autonomous County of Jishishan, northwest China's Gansu Province, Dec. 22, 2023. (Xinhua/Fang Xin)

LANZHOU, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Construction workers are busy day and night building prefabricated houses in northwest China's Gansu Province so that residents impacted by a recent 6.2-magnitude earthquake can move from tents to warmer structures for the winter.

According to the housing and urban-rural development bureau of the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, a total of 12,000 prefab houses will be built by Dec. 27. By 9 p.m. Saturday, more than 3,500 had already been completed.

The massive earthquake jolted parts of Gansu at 11:59 p.m. Monday. In Bonan-Dongxiang-Salar Autonomous County of Jishishan in Linxia, 117 have been killed and 781 injured, and almost 15,000 houses have been toppled.

Wang Yong, deputy head of the provincial department of housing and urban-rural development, said the thrust-type earthquake reached Level-8 seismic intensity -- higher than the Level-7 seismic design regulated for local buildings -- and was forceful in its destruction.

Jishishan is positioned on the western edge of the Loess Plateau. Research shows that earthquakes that occur on the Loess Plateau have greater destructive power on the surface.

Wang said that most of the houses in Jishishan's rural areas were built by locals, meaning they have diverse levels of earthquake resistance, and this was another reason that a large number of houses fell in the earthquake.

By noon on Friday, more than 110,000 residents had been relocated to over 300 sites in the province.

Excavators and cranes have been mobilized to level the ground on site and lift the portable houses, enabling a single prefab house to be built in just 10 minutes. The 18-square-meter houses can home four to six people each and are equipped with basic living facilities, including beds, quilts and stoves.

"It only took two days for us to move from a tent to a warm prefab house. I was very relieved," said Tao Yongping, a resident of Taojia Village in Liuji Township.

Also at the temporary settlement site in the village, a team of power supply workers used a crane to install a 10-kilovolt transformer.

Zheng Wenlong, leader of the team from the Baiyin branch of State Grid, said the transformer will be able to supply power to 260 prefab houses that have already been built and another 200 that are still under construction.

Yang Faren, who works for a company affiliated with China Railway 21st Bureau Group Corporation Limited, said his company has completed the construction of 500 prefab houses in Meipo Village in Dahejia Town.

"And we will set up another 3,000," Yang said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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