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China Issues Guidelines on Post-quake Reconstruction

China's State Council published on Friday guidelines on post-quake reconstruction, emphasizing house repair and building work.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, stressed priority for repairing and building houses for people whose homes were destroyed during the May 12 tremor.

"Check for repairable buildings and fix them as soon as possible; scientifically choose sites, economically use land and set down reasonable quake-resistant levels for building new houses," the guidelines said.

Areas suitable for living must be marked off based on scientific standards and evaluations on geology and natural resources. Meanwhile, the government will see to the reasonable distribution regarding population, industry and productivity, according to the guidelines.

The reconstruction of buildings should take local advice into account, and be based on governmental subsidies, social support and local resources.

All the measures were aimed to let quake-hit people live in "safe and comfortable houses as soon as possible", said the guidelines.

Resources should be optimized to upgrade quake resistance standards and improve the quality of construction, the guidelines said.

Priority should be given to the reconstruction of public facilities, including schools and hospitals, and these buildings should be the "safest, most solid and trustworthy".

The guidelines required high schools and vocational schools be located in county seats, middle school in townships while primary school sites be relatively concentrated.

The guidelines also underscored the importance of protecting the ethnic and cultural relics affected by the major quake.

Earthquake sites and memorial halls would be erected, and the reconstruction of government buildings should be "frugal" and "practical."

The restoration of infrastructure should be adjusted to local conditions and planning, the guidelines added.

The State Council also put emphasis on the efforts to restore hydropower facilities, saying priority should be given to the reconstruction and repair of reservoirs, dams, rural water supply systems, irrigation, hydrology and water resources.

Equal emphasis should be given to channeling the quake lakes and blocked rivers.

The guidelines urged intensified efforts for the marketing and promotion of tourism in the quake zone, which it said "were important for increasing employment, boosting consumption and adding revenue".

Energy-intensive, highly polluting and unsafe enterprises would be eradicated while more support would be given to competitive small and medium-sized companies.

Warning authorities of secondary disasters that may threaten public safety and important infrastructure, the State Council said authorities should bring under control risks that may cause geological disasters.

The called for tightened supervision measures against environmental pollution in the process of reconstruction.

The guidelines also require private homes, public infrastructure and basic facilities to be priority building tasks.

The Cabinet would use financial, land and employment policies to support the rebuilding, and at the same time welcome cash and goods donations from all sectors of society.

Businesses, especially state-owned enterprises, were encouraged by the government to launch investments in quake-hit areas, said the guidelines.

Local bureaus responsible for the rebuilding project should ensure the proper use of money and goods and that security and quality issues were put under public scrutiny.

The 8.0-magnitude earthquake that jolted Sichuan and the neighboring provinces had killed at least 69,196 people as of Friday noon, with 374,176 injured and 18,385 missing.  

(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2008)

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