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Vice Premier Urges Post-quake Reconstruction

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang urged post-quake reconstruction be sped up in Gansu and Shaanxi provinces during a visit from June 5-7.

The 8.0-magnitude earthquake on May 12, with an epicenter in Wenchuan County of southwest China's Sichuan Province, had claimed at least 69,134 lives to date. It had also injured 374,061 and 17,681 others missing and affected more than 46.16 million people in Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi and Chongqing.

Li, also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, inspected relief in villages in Gansu, a province adjacent to Sichuan.

After seeing that many temporary structures were built for residence and offices, Li said schools would be the top priority to use the makeshift shelters.

He also urged local governments to prepare for building permanent housing.

Li discussed alternatives of cost-effective rural construction during lunch when he grabbed some instant noodles to eat.

In addition, he asked for a quicker restoration of public transport and communication facilities.

He was concerned about retail prices in rural stores. "We're grateful to your efforts to keep prices stable," he told a local shop owner.

(Xinhua News Agency June 8, 2008)

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