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Chinese premier promises to help quake victims
Publication Date : 18-08-2013
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, visiting an earthquake-hit area in Northwest China's Gansu province, has encouraged villagers to be confident about the future, and assured them the government will help them get on their feet again.
He said people in the quake region would get aid to rebuild their houses, as well as sufficient supplies of food, water and medicine. Roads will be repaired as soon as possible, Li said while visiting Minxian county on Saturday afternoon.
"If we put hundreds of millions of hands together, we will become powerful enough to overcome the current as well as long-term difficulties," he told the people of Yongguang village in Meichuan township, one of the worst-hit areas where 21 people died and almost all the houses were destroyed.
On July 22, a 6.6-magnitude quake jolted the area between Minxian and Zhangxian counties in the morning. The earthquake left at least 95 people dead and another 1,461 injured.
About 2.36 million people were affected by the earthquake, with a direct economic loss of more than 17.6 billion yuan (US$2.88 billion), according to statistics from the Gansu provincial government.
While visiting a 70-year-old woman who had lost four family members including her son, the premier told her to be strong and trust the government in the quake-relief work.
In the tent of Bao Weihong, whose son was only one month old when the quake occurred, Li asked whether the drinking water was clean and if the family was getting enough food.
After talking with the quake victims, Li concluded that there were three immediate problems lack of warm shelter for the coming winter, insufficient classrooms for the students and inconvenient traffic access.
He urged provincial and county officials to address the issues quickly and make sure the displaced get through the coming winter safely.
Li Weizhong, 42, a resident of Yongguang village, told China Daily he was worried because his tent was not thick enough to protect his family from the cold. Since the classrooms of the school were destroyed, Li was also concerned his four children would not be able to start school in the new semester next month.
The villagers get water and instant noodles from the government every day, but the 15-square-metre tent is not big enough for the six members of his family, he added.
Hou Weihong, a 16-year-old student from Wendou Middle School, said the villagers have been isolated from the outside world since roads were destroyed.
The premier also went down to the land to visit a farmer, asking about his livelihood from planting medicinal herbs, the main source of income for the villagers.
It took Li nine hours to reach the quake-hit region in Minxian county from Beijing - two hours by plane, three hours by train and four hours by bus. The area is a mountainous region with an altitude of 2,700 metres.
Meanwhile, another 3.7-magnitude earthquake occurred at the same area at about 1pm on Saturday, but no casualties have been reported by press time.
The provincial government said on Thursday that those who lost their homes have already been resettled. All the injured have received medical treatment, and 71 are still in hospital as of Friday.
Beijing has allocated 800 million yuan of emergency funds for the rescue work including relocation, medical fees, disease prevention and reconstruction, according to the Gansu Daily on Friday.