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Rehousing of Northwest China's Quake Homeless to Take Three Years

May 7, 2010

2010-05-02 22:39:23     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zheng Zhi

<Xinhua is an official press agency of the communist party of China and PRC>

 The construction of new houses for 120,000 homeless survivors of the
earthquake that flattened the remote town of Gyegu in northwest China
last month will take up to three years, said a government advisor.

Gyegu, the mountainous town with 100,000 residents and 20,000 migrants,
mostly herdsmen and farmers, was hit hardest when the 7.1-magnitude
struck the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu, Qinghai Province, on
April 14.

Almost all houses in the town collapsed or were rendered dangerous to
live in and most of the residents are sheltering in tents.

Yang Baojun, vice dean of the China Academy of Urban Planning and
Design, told Xinhua Gyegu was 800 km from the nearest city with
construction resources and the long winter -- about eight months -- was
too cold and windy for major building projects.

"We plan to build Gyegu into an eco-friendly tourist city, but it will
take three years," said Yang, who is included in an expert group to
rebuild Gyegu, the seat of the Yushu prefecture government.

But Yang would not reveal whether the new town would be restored on the
ruins or be built somewhere else.

Gyegu covers 808 square km and sits on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with an
average elevation of 4,000 meters. Temperatures easily drop to freezing
at night during the winter.

"We have to make transitional housing comfortable for the homeless,
because they won't just stay there for a few months," Yang said.

Yang said the expert group suggested most of the homeless in Gyegu be
temporarily sheltered in cotton tents.

Pre-fab homes, which were widely used for the survivors in 2008 Sichuan
earthquake, had been mostly ruled out as an option for Yushu because
they were too expensive and would seriously damage the grassland

According to latest official figures, about 68,200 tents and 287 pre-fab
homes had been sent to the quake zone.

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