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Reconstruction of infrastructure priority in quake-hit areas
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China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MHURD) stressed in a circular on Tuesday that infrastructure restoration was a priority in reconstruction after the May 12 earthquake.

The MHURD ordered governments at all levels to draw up construction plans by June 8, including building locations and materials.

It instructed officials to better manage construction of interim housing in quake-hit areas to ensure its safety.

Meanwhile, China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) issued a circular, calling on members to stabilize iron prices for disaster-relief and reconstruction usage.

The CISA ordered the steel and iron producers nationwide to ensure quality and maintain normal prices.

Baosteel Group Corporation. Ltd., the country's leading steel producer had promised to maintain the prices at May 11 levels.

The government is to assess all school buildings in quake zones, said a statement from the earthquake relief headquarters of the State Council.

Local governments must organize personnel to conduct safety appraisals of all school buildings as soon as possible to ensure the safety of students as they return to school, according to the statement.

The death toll nationwide reached 69,107 as of Tuesday noon, the Information Office of the State Council said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 4, 2008)

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