The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China said Wednesday it would launch a five-year plan costing 900 million yuan (about 130 million U.S. dollars) to rebuild houses for more than 100,000 poor farmers.
The project will help more than 460,000 lower-income people, or 12 percent of the agricultural population, to live in safe houses, said Ma Tingli, director of the regional civil affairs department.
About one-third of the region's people live in mountainous areas in the arid southern region of Ningxia, Ma said.
Poverty has trapped many local residents in earth houses built in the 1980s, which are susceptible to disasters like earthquakes, landslides and heavy rain, he said.
By 2012, each family will receive 3,000 to 120,000 yuan in rebuilding subsidies or reconstruction work from the local government, according to the project.
By this October, the houses of 4,126 families will be rebuilt.
The regional government had invested 159 million yuan to rebuild houses for 32,203 families as of the end of 2007, and more than 161,000 people were helped by the project.
However, another 167,000 families still live in dangerous conditions. The new project aims at solving the housing problems of 100,000 of these households, Ma said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 26, 2008)