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Wen Calls for Guarantee of Living Necessities in Quake Zone

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called on authorities to ensure earthquake survivors in Qinghai Province receive adequate food and financial assistance to maintain their livelihoods.

Rebuilding projects should be finished within three years, with a priority on residential buildings and public facilities such as schools and hospitals, Wen said.

Wen made the call in a speech, which was published Sunday by the State Council General Office, at a meeting to discuss relief work on May 1 during his second visit to the quake zone in Yushu prefecture.

Wen said supplies of food, cooking oil, vegetables, fuel and relief allowances should be provided to ensure living standards, and schools should resume as soon as possible in tents or temporary buildings.

Debris should be cleared quickly, and the disposal of garbage, human waste and livestock carcases must be properly carried out, Wen said.

Adequate disinfectant chemicals and equipment should be prepared, and authorities should be alert for outbreaks of disease, Wen said.

Damaged roads and bridges should be repaired and airport operations should be guaranteed to maintain efficient transport. Water and power supplies should also be restored rapidly, Wen said.

Agricultural production should be restored, and the government must help farmers buy seed and fertilizers. Markets should be rebuilt and goods supplies and prices stabilized, Wen said.

Psychological assistance should be provided to people suffering from trauma problems.

Reconstruction planning should be scientifically evaluated on the basis of the surveys of the area's geological, hydrological and ecological conditions, and reconstruction sites should avoid earthquake fault lines, Wen said.

He urged authorities to take into consideration the environment, economic and social development, poverty alleviation and livelihood promotion in the reconstruction.

The work should also be carried out with concern for the prefecture's distinctive ethnic characteristics and geological conditions.

Wen stressed in particular the protection of Tibetan culture during reconstruction work, and he promised the government would support the repair of damaged temples and protect key cultural relics.

Because Yushu's ecosystem is fragile and sensitive to human activities, rebuilding work must be environmentally friendly, with a high recycling rate of building materials, he said.

The reconstruction fund would be provided by the central government and supported by public donations. Favorable taxation, employment, finance and land use policies would also be enacted, Wen said.

The premier praised ethnic and religious groups who had played important role in relief work. He said efforts should be intensified to maintain ethnic unity and avoid disputes.

He also urged local authorities to care for the relief workers, and guarantee their basic working and living conditions.

Wen first visited Yushu on April 15, the day after the 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which killed at least 2,200 people and left more than 100,000 homeless.

(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2010)

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