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Gov't Vows to Help Quake Survivors Get Through Winter

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China's Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo said Tuesday the government will make efforts to ensure "a safe winter" for the survivors of the April 14 earthquake in Yushu in northwestern Qinghai Province.

The government has extended its subsidy program for quake survivors for another three months to October, said Li at a national meeting on civil affairs.

Under the program, people who lost their homes during the quake and are in economic difficulties, and those relocated away from their homes will receive a government subsidy of about US$1.5 and 500 grams of food each day.

People who are still in need as the program ends could be covered by another government subsidy program to help the needy get through the cold winter, he said.

Temperatures in Yushu can drop below freezing even in May due to the region's high altitude of more than 4,000 meters.

Li asked civil affairs workers to take practical measures to ensure basic living necessities and safety for those still living in tents, makeshift houses or shelter centers in the winter.

He also called on relevant agencies to speed up reconstruction, ensure quality of the projects, and overcome challenges brought by low oxygen levels, cold weather and lack of construction materials.

China will spend 32 billion yuan (US$4.7 billion) on the reconstruction of Yushu, which is expected to take three years.

The 7.1-magnitude quake struck Yushu in Qinghai Province on April 14, killing more than 2,200 people and flattening thousands of homes.

(Xinhua News Agency July 6, 2010)

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