China's Sichuan Province launched a housing subsidy scheme on Tuesday to assist quake-affected urbanites during the reconstruction period.
Each urban family whose house was demolished in the May 12 earthquake could receive a cash subsidy of 25,000 yuan (3,669 U.S. dollars) in addition to other preferential policies. These included a tax reduction for building new houses and lower prices for buying apartments, the provincial government announced at a conference.
People below the urban poverty line could live in a 40-square-meter apartment offered by the government for free. Those who lost all their family members could live in welfare homes with a 35,000 yuan government subsidy.
Urbanites are expected to move from makeshift houses to new apartments within three years after the preliminary rebuilding efforts.
In June, China approved a plan on the relief work and reconstruction that promised, among other measures, to compensate each family in rural areas 10,000 yuan if their home was leveled or severely damaged by the quake.
The country will spend three years to complete the preliminary reconstruction and further develop the quake-hit region in the following five years. Central finance has allocated 70 billion yuan to create a reconstruction fund for the region this year.
The magnitude-8.0 quake claimed more than 69,000 lives and left nearly 18,000 missing and more than 374,000 injured. It left millions homeless in Sichuan and some neighboring regions.
(Xinhua News Agency October 8, 2008)