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All Homeless Families in Quake-ravaged Sichuan to Move into Permanent Houses

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Millions of rural families in southwestern Sichuan Province whose houses were leveled by a 8.0-magnitude earthquake in May 2008 would move into permanent newhouses by the Chinese lunar new year, provincial Party chief said on Friday.

More than 1.5 million rural families would all have new houses by February 14, or the Spring Festival, Liu Qibao, Secretary of Sichuan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, made the pledge at a national meeting the provincial capital.

A total of 5.38 million households in the province had their houses damaged or evened, and 1.5 million of them needed to be rebuilt, Liu said.

According to Liu, all the students in the province's quake-hit area who lost their classrooms would also move into permanent school buildings by the Spring Festival.

In addition, 93.7 percent of the reconstruction projects for medical facilities in the province have been started.

The central and provincial governments have also increased the reconstruction investment from its planned 885.8 billion yuan to 938.6 billion yuan (US$138 billion) last year.

(Xinhua News Agency January 16, 2009)

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