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Quake-hit county delays re-opening of schools
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Huili County, the worst-hit area in Saturday's earthquake in southwest China, postponed its new school semester to the end of October for lack of prefabricated buildings and tents to build temporary classrooms and dormitories, a local official said on Wednesday.

The county has reported 27 deaths so far.

A total of 58 schools affected in the quake require 150,000 square meters of prefabricated buildings and 140 tents, said Hu Kun, Communist Party secretary of the county.

The county has not yet received any promises of prefabricated house donations. The army has donated 70 tents, Hu said.

If the required structures arrive in time, the county could resume classes by the end of October, he said.

The county initially postponed the school opening to Saturday after 20 percent of its school buildings were damaged, according to Li Meihua, head of the county's educational bureau, on Monday.

The quake affected 153 of the 290 primary and middle schools inthe county, damaging 2,520 school houses and causing 140 million yuan (20.5 million U.S. dollars) in losses, Li said.

The municipal government of Panzhihua, Sichuan Province, one of the hard-hit areas, announced on Monday that schools and kindergartens would not open for a further seven days.

The 6.1-magnitude tremor killed at least 38 people in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, according to the China Earthquake Administration.

(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2008)

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