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Quake losses exceed 40 bln yuan in Gansu
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Earthquake losses in the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu exceeded 40 billion yuan (5.7 billion US dollars), according to the provincial government's initial estimates.

In Gansu, the second worst-hit province after Sichuan, an area of113,500 square kilometers was affected by the devastating May 12 quake, almost a quarter of the province's territory, said a Gansu government spokesman on Saturday.

As of 5:00 p.m. Saturday, the quake had left 365 people dead, 10,157 people injured and more than 1.28 million households comprising 5.24 million people affected in the province.

The disaster also destroyed 1.32 million houses and forced the evacuation of almost 1.8 million people.

The transport and communications infrastructure was severely affected, and secondary disasters occurred frequently.

In addition, the worst-hit areas in Gansu were mostly poor rural areas with rugged conditions, which greatly hampered relief efforts.

The province badly needed 120,000 tents but had just 52,836 now. "The biggest problem for settlement is a shortage of tents," the spokesman said.

The province planned to build 80,000 temporary houses at a cost of 1.12 billion yuan starting this month, said Governor Xu Shousheng.

"The houses will be used as temporary schools and hospitals, as well as accommodating survivors."

Xu said the priority of relief work was rebuilding residences, public buildings (such as schools and hospitals) and critical infrastructure for transport, water conservancy and power supply. The rebuilding work was expected to be completed by 2010.

The official death toll from the May 12 quake stood at 69,019 as of Monday noon. Another 373,573 people are reported injured and 18,627 missing, according to the Information Office of the State Council.

(Xinhua News Agency June 3, 2008)

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