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Experts: Quake-hit Longnan urgently needs help
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Leading experts from China's National Earthquake Experts Commission have called for external help for Longnan City, the worst-hit area of the northwestern Gansu Province in the May 12 earthquake.

Twenty experts from the Science and Technology Ministry, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Gansu Province had formed a disaster assessment team and visited several towns in the worst-hit Wenxian County on Wednesday and Thursday.

They said the situation in Longnan was much worse than thought. Currently, the city was doing relief work by itself and was in dire need of external help.

Some hospitals, especially those in towns, were badly damaged and were in urgent need of medical facilities. Religious sites there were also seriously damaged and needed repair. Houses at risk should be dismantled to avoid further damage, garbage needed to be moved out and tents and food were also needed as the flood season approached, experts found.

Science and Technology Ministry Vice Minister Liu Yanhua suggested the provincial government set up an earthquake experts commission as soon as possible and have a further assessment of the damage to provide a reference for the reconstruction.

The earthquake killed 364 people and injured 7,560 in Gansu, according to the latest statistics.

(Xinhua News Agency June 1, 2008)

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