Villagers in a remote Sichuan valley were ceremonially handed the key to their new homes yesterday by the major of Zhanjiang, a city in Guangdong Province.
Ruan Risheng, major of Zhanjiang City, presents residents of Longxi with the key to their village.[China.org.cn]
Longxi, in the mountains not far from the epicenter of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, is home to five thousand people, nearly all of whom are from the Qiang ethnic minority. The village was devastated by a mudslide caused by the earthquake and was temporarily abandoned by its inhabitants.
But residents were determined to return to the valley – one of best-preserved centers of Qiang culture – and in September 2009 Zhanjiang began helping with reconstruction.
The new village includes a health center, an earthquake shelter, a Qiang cultural center, an earthquake proof elementary school, running water, and a new road surrounded by flood proof walls.
The villagers have now moved into their new houses and the Zhanjiang government is helping draw up plans to boost tourism and preserve Qiang culture.
Zhanjiang has invested 100 million yuan in the project, covering 70 percent of the total reconstruction cost. The project manager said that, in addition to construction work, Zhanjiang is helping train local teachers and doctors.