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Government continues subsidizing quake survivors to weather through winter

12-05-2011 13:03 BJT Special Report:Yushu: Reborn from Ashes |

YUSHU, Qinghai, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The provincial government of northwestern Qinghai has allocated 160 million yuan in subsidies to help 198,000 quake survivors get through this winter as they have to make do with tents, local officials said.

A 7.1-magnitude quake struck Yushu prefecture in Qinghai on April 14 last year, killing more than 2,200 people and destroying thousands of homes.

The central government has allocated 32 billion yuan (4.7 billion U.S. dollars) for the reconstruction of Yushu, which is expected to take three years.

At the start of the second winter in the plateau region -- about 4,000 meters above the sea level -- reconstruction workers and volunteers from around the country had completed the building of 77 percent of 37,764 permanent houses planned for this year's reconstruction.

Most of the new Tibetan-style houses currently do not have water, power or heating, as the required infrastructure is still being built.

"The indoor temperature is freezing. We can't keep warm even wrapped up with five quilts," said Sonam Lanze, a quake survivor in the town of Gyegu, the worst-hit settlement in the earthquake.

Winter is long in Yushu. It usually starts in October and ends in May. Construction on projects usually suspends in winter in the plateau region.

The provincial government over the weekend gave cash handouts of 810 yuan to each quake survivor to help them get through the winter.

Marketplaces in Yushu have ample supplies of food and basic commodities.

Donggar, director of the Yushu Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Bureau, said vegetables including Chinese cabbage and chilies on the market are mostly supplied by local greenhouse growers.

He said 1,798 vegetable-growing greenhouses were built during the reconstruction, which should ensure the prefecture's vegetable supply during the winter.

Wen Laisheng, a reconstruction official, said there is no problem for basic living in the tent settlements in Yushu. The top worry, however, is the fire risk, as the makeshift homes are supported by planks.

A fire ripped through Yushu last month destroying 62 shops, but didn't cause any deaths, he said.

He said local officials are visiting each tent family to check for fire risks and whether the children are attending school.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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