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More temporary homes ready for quake victims
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By David Ferguson and Keen Zhang
China.org.cn correspondents reporting from Dujiangyan,Sichuan

Hundreds of workers and volunteers in a tireless effort to provide homes for the victims.

Dujiangyan City is one of hard hit areas in Sichuan by the May 12 earthquake. Eleven days after the disaster, we visited this quake-shaken city. On Erhuan Road on the outskirts of the city, we stopped at a bee-hive of determined activity.

Behind the apparent chaos, swarms of workers and volunteers were busy implementing a rapidly developed and resourceful plan. They are putting together a relief camp of pre-fabricated housing units.

The central government has ordered the immediate construction of one million of these units to provide shelter for earthquake victims. The homes will be made from light steel, plywood, and other recyclable materials, and will be designed to be earthquake-proof.

One of the managers of the project, a Mr. Jia, outlined the plan to us.

Each 20 square-meter house will provide accommodation for a three-person family unit. It is intended that all homeless victims of the earthquake will be housed by early August, and that they will stay in the camps for between three and five years while permanent homes are provided.

The units will have three beds and electricity. Each will have its own postal address. Communal facilities will include showers, toilets, refectories, schools, and a supermarket. Everything will be free to occupants in possession of their resident's card, and work has already started in looking for jobs for the community.

The development has been named with optimism in mind – Xingfu Jiayuan, Happy Garden. To see the progress that has been made was deeply impressive. In only three days, almost five hundred units are nearly ready. In less than a week, another thousand units will complete the first phase of the development. Ultimately, Xingfu Jiayuan will house ten thousand people. It is one of five or six such developments under way around the city.

As fast as the builders can work, the new residents are arriving. As workers finished fixing the roofs onto one block of houses, refugees were already moving into their temporary homes, helped by eager and tireless volunteers.

Feng Wentan, a 23-year-old postgraduate student from Sichuan University studying English and Fluid Mechanics, took a few minutes to tell us how proud he was to play his part in the relief effort. Along with forty of his classmates, he had spent several days in Mianyang, working in a hospital and the main relief camp there. He had been reassigned to Xingfu Jiayuan that very morning, and was once more willing to do his best.

And with that he hurried off to share the burden of another family moving their possessions into the camp.

This is a happier and positive experience for us. But the sufferings continue in the quake-shaken areas. In Dujiangyan we also met a group of people outside a damaged building in an area where others had collapsed. One was an old woman. Together they were trying to retrieve their belongings from their homes as quickly as possible. One man shouted at the old woman to take more care.

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