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Beichuan rebuild wins approval
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A plan for rebuilding the county seat of Beichuan, devastated in the 8.0-magnitude May 12 earthquake, has undergone an expertise appraisal by China's construction authority.

The plan is still at the public comment stage.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction approved the plan for rebuilding the Beichuan county seat in Huangtu Township in neighboring Anxian County, which is about 20 kilometers away from the original site.

The first phase of the 10-square-kilometer county seat will take shape in three years, with public welfare facilities, government headquarters and housing. The core area will have a population of 61,000. More than 80 percent of the residents are expected to be earthquake survivors, who will live in low-rent houses and affordable homes.

The plan drafted by the China Urban Planning and Design Institute aims to turn the new county seat into a cultural city featuring ethnic Qiang characteristics.

Beichuan is the ancestral home of the 300,000-strong Qiang ethnic group.

The budget for the first-phase construction is estimated at 19.32 billion yuan (US$2.82 billion).

Officials said they had decided not to rebuild in the original area because it is close to a fault line.

(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2008)

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