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Rebuilding homes is top priority for quake relief cash
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China's State Council, or Cabinet, said Monday that rebuilding homes is the first priority for quake-relief donations, as it takes steps to safeguard the handling of the billions of yuan donated.

The State Council's guide on the use of quake relief funds, aims to ensure a standard, transparent and efficient management of the increasing amount of relief funds which had reached 53.86 billion yuan (7.8 billion US dollars).

The funds should be used in rebuilding houses first, then in restoring public facilities such as schools, hospitals and social welfare services, as well as in helping the poor, the disabled, the elderly and orphans and rebuilding infrastructure such as village roads and bridges.

The guide said the use of donations and special Party dues should be arranged by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Public charity organizations such as the Red Cross Society of China and the China Charity Federation should discuss the use of relief funds with provincial governments receiving aid in line with the country's post-quake reconstruction regulation.

Relief funds received by Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi, Chongqing and Yunnan should be in principle used for reconstruction in those regions.

He Yong, deputy secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), stressed that serious penalties would be given to those who misappropriated relief goods and funds.

The CPC discipline watchdog has dispatched two inspection teams to ensure the proper use of relief funds and materials for the areas affected by the May 12 earthquake.

A team headed by Ma Wen, deputy secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and Supervision Minister, arrived in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province on May 31.

It will stay in Sichuan to supervise local governments and investigate the management and use of relief funds and materials.

Another team headed by Vice Supervision Minister Wang Wei had begun an inspection of the Red Cross Society of China and the China Charity Federation on May 30. It will also carry out inspections of organizations and central government departments that received donations.

He said they should strictly carry out inspections to ensure relief materials used most efficiently to help affected people.

Domestic and foreign donations had reached 45.73 billion yuan in cash and goods, according to the Information Office of the State Council.

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2008)

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