The Chinese government will modify its temporary subsidy plan for quake survivors starting in September, with each survivor experiencing financial hardship to get 200 yuan (US$29) per month, a State Council statement said on Saturday.
"Life in most parts of the area will return to normal by September but, in some worst-hit areas, some people might still suffer difficulties. To help them, the government decided to continue financial assistance after the present policy ends," said the statement issued after a cabinet meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.
The quake, on May 12, left millions of people homeless and destitute.
The policy will cover such categories as orphans, the elderly and the disabled without family support, those whose relatives were killed or severely injured, those who were displaced and those whose residences were destroyed, it said.
Since the disaster, every needy survivor has been eligible to receive 10 yuan and 500 grams of food a day. The policy has covered about 8.82 million people but will end in August. The new system won't include any food allotment.
Some types of survivors could receive more than the minimum. Under the present policy, about 261,000 orphans, elderly and disabled without family support have received 600 yuan a month. Under the new policy, they will receive more than 200 yuan, the statement said, without elaborating.
The new policy will expire in November, the statement said.
The meeting heard a report by an experts' committee on the Wenchuan County-centered quake and ordered it to keep monitoring aftershocks in the quake zone for another two months.
The panel was also told to forecast areas that might be affected by major secondary disasters and evaluate possible losses to help reconstruction. The experts were also told to locate sites where quake debris can be stored for long periods for later investigation and take measures to protect such sites.
The meeting endorsed an assessment report by central and provincial authorities, which listed 10 counties and cities, including Wenchuan County, Beichuan County and Dujiangyan City, as the worst-hit areas.
Another 41 counties, cities and districts were characterized as heavily affected and other 186 were said to be moderately affected.
The first two categories will be covered by the national reconstruction plan, it said.
The 8.0-magnitude quake has claimed nearly 70,000 lives, injured more than 374,000 people and left another 18,340 missing.
(Xinhua News Agency July 14, 2008)