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Quake zone keen to return to normal soon

Xinhua, November 25, 2014 Adjust font size:

The residents of southwest China's Kangding County, where a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on Saturday killed five and injured 54, will begin to rebuild their lives from Friday, the Communist Party of China's (CPC) local chief said Tuesday.

The central government has allocated a relief fund of 50 million yuan (8.14 million U.S. dollars) to the heavily-Tibetan populated county.

A total of 25,000 houses were damaged, affecting about 79,500 people, according to the Garze prefecture government.

Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Party secretary, Hu Changsheng, vowed that the reopening of schools would be a priority, so students preparing to take the upcoming entrance exams would not be affected.

Hu said students would be among the first to receive tents that could withstand extreme low temperatures.

Dorje, 17, said he was relieved to hear that classes would resume soon as he was due to sit his senior high school entrance exam.

Yan Li, a teacher at local school Minyak Zuqing, said he and his fellow teachers had returned to the ruins of the former school building to retrieve textbooks and tables.

"This is an important exam. We can't let this earthquake affect the future of our students. We must help them," Yan said.

According to the local government, more than 6,300 displaced people have been relocated, about 800 tents, 6,000 quilts, 1,000 beds and 4,000 items of clothes have already been distributed, as well as mineral water and instant noodles.

Thus far, 11 medical teams of 886 personnel have been dispatched to treat the ill and injured.

Nearly 50 vehicles -- 20 for transportation and 22 patrol cars -- have been deployed to the roads leading to the area to facilitate accessibility.

Telecom and electric companies have also rolled out supplies badly needed to prevent further disruptions to the lives of residents.

The emergency response headquarters said another focus would be on keeping people warm throughout the region's bitterly-cold winter.

The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, a Tibetan Buddhism spiritual leader, on Sunday morning prayed for the quake zone. He said he wished those affected could soon walk out of the shadow of the quake and see their lives return to normal.

This strong earthquake is the latest to hit Sichuan, which neighbors Tibet Autonomous Region. A massive 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Wenchuan on May 12, 2008, resulting in more than 80,000 people reported dead or missing. On April 20, 2013, a 7.0-magnitude quake hit Lushan, killing at least 196.

Kangding, in particular, which lies on a geologically active belt, has reported nine earthquakes of 7 magnitude or above over the last 400 years.

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