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Gov't Pledges to Care for Quake Orphans

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The Chinese government is "trying its best" to look for families for orphans in the Qinghai quake zone while trying to give them special care, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

"Among all people in the quake-hit areas, children whose parents were killed during the quake are in the most difficult situation and need special care," said an unnamed official with the ministry Friday.

Government organizations and social groups would work together to care for the orphans.

The ministry said it would seek adoptions for all orphans in the quake zone as soon as possible, and would "fully respect" the children's preferences and the traditions and habits of ethnic children.

Six children were reportedly injured in the quake when a four-story orphan school collapsed. A total of 220 students are living in tents.

The total number of orphans in the quake zone is not available.

According to the ministry, social welfare organizations in Xining, capital of northwest China's Qinghai Province, have set aside more than 300 beds for orphans and children whose parents or other family members have not been contactable since a 7.1-magnitude quake hit Yushu, Qinghai, on April 14.

The ministry also planned to mobilize help from other regions if Qinghai had difficulty settling the orphans.

Previous reports said SOS Children's Villages in Chengdu, Urumqi, Beijing and Tianjin would contact with the civil affairs department in Yushu and prepare for the arrival of orphans.

The central government and Qinghai authorities would jointly provide each orphan with a monthly financial support of 1,000 yuan (US$146) for three months from April.

In addition, figures from the ministry show that a total of 56,000 tents had reached the quake zone as of Friday evening, along with 117,000 coats and 208,000 quilts among other daily necessities and relief materials.

The quake in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu has left 2,187 people dead and 80 missing. Among the 12,135 injured, 1,434 were in serious condition.

(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2010)

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