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Quake-hit Panzhihua Pleads for Tents, Fuel

Panzhihua City, the epicenter of Saturday's 6.1-magnitude quake in southwest China's Sichuan Province, urgently needs for temporary shelters and fuel, a civil affairs official said on Tuesday.

Wang Jian, deputy head of the city's civil affairs bureau, said the city had accepted pledges of 18,090 tents from the civil affairs departments in neighboring regions and social donations as of Monday.

"Despite the promised aid, the city still needs at least 90,000 square meters of makeshift accommodation and 15,000 tents as well as 65,000 quilts to provide temporary shelter for 200,000 people," he said.

Vice mayor of the city Liu Kangjian on Monday called for urgent coal supplies from neighboring provinces to avoid impending power cuts.

The city government had halted all underground mining operations as a safety precaution immediately after the earthquake. The production disruption had threatened the power supply, which depended heavily on coal.

By Monday, the city reported 220,000 tons of coal in reserve, which was only enough for three days at the most, said Liu.

China's two leading fuel producers, Sinopec and PetroChina, have announced measures to divert more fuel oil to the quake zone. Sinopec asked its stations to open 24 hours to refill tanker trucks heading to the quake zone.

The epicenter was about 50 km southeast of downtown Panzhihua, an important industrial and energy production base in southwest China.

Authorities have confirmed three people are dead and 65 injured in the city, where the earthquake damaged more than 170,000 homes, 22 road bridges and 131 roads, leading to losses of 1.68 billion yuan (US$245 million).

The quake and aftershocks jolted Huili and Panzhihua, both in Sichuan, and the autonomous prefectures of Chuxiong, Dali, Lijiangand Zhaotong cities, all in Yunnan Province. Kunming, capital of Yunnan, was also hit.

The Yunnan provincial government has allocated 30 million yuan for disaster relief and 10 million yuan for school rebuilding. At least 273 schools in Chuxiong Prefecture reported damage.

(Xinhua News Agency September 2, 2008)

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