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Reconstruction Work to Start in 2 Villages

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Post-earthquake reconstruction in northwest China's Qinghai Province will start in two pilot villages in Yushu Prefecture next Tuesday.

Before a comprehensive reconstruction plan is released, pilot reconstruction will start in the villages of Trangu and Ganda near the epicenter of Gyegu Town, rescue and relief headquarters said on Tuesday.

Reconstruction will start there May 4, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The headquarters also set a target of May 14, a month after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake, to clear the ruins of major buildings such as government offices, schools and hospitals.

"The rescue and relief work has entered a new phase ... We have to set clear new targets," Qiang Wei, Party chief of Qinghai Province, was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Meanwhile, China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin, who visited quake survivors and rescuers during a trip to Yushu on Monday, said the government would go all out to rebuild the quake zone.

Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, also met with representatives of monks who joined the rescue.

He said the monks showed patriotism and compassion in their quake relief work and called on them to continue to bring spiritual support to survivors.

Death toll reliable

As of 5:00 PM on Sunday, the death toll from the April 14 quake had hit 2,220 and funerals had been conducted for 2,192 of the dead, official figures show.

In response to a question from overseas media about a possible higher death toll, Zhang Guangrong, vice-governor of Qinghai, said the number had been collected through standard procedures and was reliable.

Dampa Rinchen, monastic preceptor of the Gyegu Monastery, who had been quoted earlier by some overseas media saying the actual death toll was far higher, also stood by the government figure.

"My first estimate was wrong," he said.

He said early speculation by local residents about the death toll and the scale of the disaster had led him to believe 7,000 to 8,000 had died in the quake.

But based on the number of cremated bodies overseen by the Gyegu Monastery and other monasteries, he thought the current toll was correct.

(China Daily April 28, 2010)


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