Repairs, power restoration underway in tornado-hit area

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Authorities in Funing County in East China's Jiangsu Province are racing against time with clean up and repair operations in the wake of Thursday's deadly tornado. The disaster damaged over 25-thousand houses and local infrastructure, killed nearly a hundred people, and injured nearly 850 others.

These are what is left of the once-vibrant community in Funing County.

Houses torn apart, factories destroyed. Even poles like this, with steel bars and concrete as the core, were broken into pieces.

Over three thousand of them across the county were damaged during and after the tornado, leaving over 135-thousand families powerless. But this is yet the most unbelievable scene.

This is the major electricity supply line in Funing County. And it has suffered severe damages. You can see the tower next to us. It was completely destroyed by the tornado. You can see the whole structure has been twisted. So it is so large that the workers have to cut them into small pieces and to remove them to another location. Meanwhile, the workers are working to re-erect a new tower and try to restore the power supply in this region as soon as possible.

"Just an hour after the tornado hit, we arrived in Funing County. Our engineers first evaluated the damages. We activated our emergency response plan to repair the power grid. We aim to restore power supply by June 30th," said Xie Hu, general manager of Jiangsu Electric Power.

Over 460 workers are working non-stop to repair the power grid across the county ... but it's not an easy task.

"This is the very core area of the disaster. Traffic is not very good because of the debris. And the workers have to build the tower in the water field, in the middle of this hot weather," Xie said.

Meanwhile, soldiers from the People's Armed Police Force who joined the rescue work since day one are shifting their focus.

"We started to remove debris and salvage properties and items that can be still used. People here have suffered a lot, and we hope to minimize their losses," said Chen Lijin, deputy head of 3rd General Team, Traffic Detachment, People's Armed Police.

Soldiers categorize usable building materials so that farmers can use them in rebuilding their houses. This family has returned to their damaged house to organize some stuff and retrieve some memories. But it will still take time for them to get back on track of their life.

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