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Quake survivors move to temporary housing
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All the 8,000 people who have been living in tents in Beichuan County, worst hit by a massive quake on May 12, have all moved into temporary housing.

The last 12 families who had lived in tents moved to new homes on Sunday, according to Wen Gang, secretary of the Discipline Inspection Commission of Beichuan County Committee of the Communist Party of China.

A tent center at Shengli Village, where the 12 households stayed, was established on Sept. 28 after a rain-triggered landslide four days earlier destroyed prefabricated housing for quake survivors. That event left 8,000 people homeless again.

The 12 families will live in a rebuilt kindergarten in Leigu Township, Beichuan, a picturesque mountainous region that is home to people of the ethnic Qiang group. The school was damaged in the quake. However, broken windows have been replaced by wooden covers. Living facilities such as kitchens have been added to provide housing.

Shortly after the move of the 12 households, comprising 40 people who were from Tianping Village, Leigu Township, workers pulled down the tents.

Kuang Zhiguo, the party boss of Tianping, said: "Winter has come and it will be very hard to live in tents. In addition to giving each family two quilts, the government will pay the rent (for temporary housing). "

According to Kuang, his family and two other households share one big classroom in the new residence, which is divided into three single-room homes. The three families will share a kitchen.

Wen said other tent-dwellers moved to prefab settlements in other areas.

Sichuan has had an unusually rainy, cold winter so far this year with temperatures 0.5 to 1 degree Celsius below normal, meteorologists said. The worst-hit areas in the quake zone, mostly at high elevations such as Beichuan, have average winter temperatures of 7 to minus 3 degrees.

The 8.0-magnitude quake centered in Sichuan's Wenchuan County left more than 69,000 people dead and 374,000 injured, with 18,000 still reported as missing and millions homeless. More than 31,000 aftershocks have been reported since, with the strongest measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale.

Authorities in Sichuan plan to invest at least 3 trillion yuan (US$441 billion) for reconstruction by 2010, executive vice provincial governor Wei Hong said on Nov. 21.

About 1.67 trillion yuan is needed to rebuild the 139 counties hit by the quake, with investment in other development projects to reach almost 700 billion yuan each year between 2008 and 2010, Wei told a press conference held in Beijing.

(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2008)

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