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Chengdu reconstruction under way
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With schools collapsed and residences destroyed, some 2.82 million Chengdu people suffered from the devastating May 12 earthquake which caused a direct economic loss of 124.7 billion yuan to the city.

After the quake struck, rescue plans were implemented and central shelters provided for people close to the quake zone. For those in less damaged areas, the Chengdu government provided tents and transitional housing. In total, the city built 174 centralized settlements that accommodated 1.13 million people. Disaster refugees included those from Aba prefecture, Deyang and Mianyang cities.

The Chengdu government made the commitment to people who lost their homes and families to complete the construction of transitional housing before August 1. Under the guidance of the central government, with the assistance of other provinces and cities, the city government built 198,576 transitional shelters.

Shortly after the earthquake, a victim relocation plan and city coordinating mechanism was set up to maintain social order and people's lives. Fifteen cities and counties gave coordinated support to three severely damaged cities to help them build transitional houses as well as restoring power, water and other facilities.

A settlement management team implemented a four-step system to maintain life and order in quake-hit areas.

Small settlements continued using the usual management system. Government-selected personnel together with victim representatives took charge of larger settlements. Temporary Party and Youth League organizations were established to help in self-management, self-education and self-service.

A victim rescue system was implemented. Victims were first photographed for proof of identification. Files were then compiled to record information and rescue cards were issued. An information system was developed to ensure no overlap or omitted information.

Management teams formed emergency response plans, ensured public security, fire control, electricity and gas equipment safety, strengthened inspection of food and drinking water standards and started an infectious disease reporting system.

Teams then established "warm heart" stores to ensure there were enough supplies for people's daily necessities.

The provincial government plans to complete 60 percent of reconstruction in rural areas on original sites by the end of this year and finish all work by the end of 2009.

According to the central government's arrangements and Sichuan provincial reconstruction plans, Chengdu has put forward a vision for reconstruction efforts.

Rural housing reconstruction includes options for local farmers including rebuilding houses at the original sites, reconstructing homes at allocated sites, voluntarily moving to other locations, and fixing and reinforcing buildings that were damaged.

All must comply with scientific designs for rural housing and preserve traditional Sichuan culture in building styles as well as guarantee good quality.

In urban reconstruction, owners still have the right to the use of land even if the buildings were destroyed. Victims who lost houses in the earthquake can rent low-cost housing, buy price-controlled or commercial housing or exchange land and rebuild their home somewhere else.

Three months have passed after the catastrophic earthquake jolted Wenchuan county. People from all over the world lent their helping hands for children who lost their parents, for parents who lost their children and for tens of thousands of people who were sick, suffering and scared. Residents of Chengdu and other disaster-stricken areas are uniting and working hard to build a better future.

(China Daily August 5, 2008)

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