Premier Wen Jiabao talks to students yesterday at the Beichuan Middle School at the opening of its temporary quarters in the courtyard of the Changhong training center in Mianyang, Sichuan Province. The middle school was among the hardest-hit schools in the May 12 earthquake that killed nearly 70,000 people.
Emergency management authorities appealed for temporary housing and tents yesterday after a weekend earthquake in southwest China killed at least 40 people, injured 675 others and left hundreds of thousands of homes in ruins.
The 6.1-magnitude temblor on Saturday struck along the same fault line as a May 12 earthquake that killed nearly 70,000. The epicenter was about 30 kilometers southeast of Panzhihua, near Sichuan Province's border with Yunnan Province.
Authorities said the quake destroyed some 392,000 houses in the two provinces and caused about 181,000 people to be evacuated.
More than 15,120 tents, 20,000 quilts and 15 million yuan (US$2.2 million) in aid have been allocated to the quake areas in Sichuan. The Yunnan provincial government will budget 30 million yuan for quake relief in addition to tents and quilts.
"We need temporary houses ... we need more than 10,000 tents," said Zhang Hai, an official in Sichuan's Panzhihua City, where many roads, bridges and reservoirs were destroyed.
The beginning of the school year, originally scheduled for yesterday, was postponed for a week because some classrooms were damaged.
"School buildings suffered damage. A strict safety overhaul will be held on all schools, and the new term will begin on September 8," the local government said.
Sichuan reported 34 deaths so far and 321 people injured.
In its worst-hit area, Huili County, 20 percent of the school buildings were damaged. The quake wrecked 153 of the 290 primary and middle schools in the county, accoridng to the county's educational bureau.
In Yunnan's Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Chuxiong, over 18,800 students were not able to attend class after their schoolrooms collapsed.
The casualty toll in Chuxiong stood at six people dead and 195 injured, including 47 in serious condition.
(Shanghai Daily September 2, 2008)