The Ministry of Civil Affairs on Friday urged local governments to finish rebuilding the 2 million houses torn down in natural disasters before the Spring Festival, or China's Lunar New Year, in February next year.
"Local governments should ensure that each household that suffered during the recent natural disasters has a warm shelter before winter comes. All the rebuilding work should be completed before the Spring Festival," said Vice Minister Li Liguo at the ministry's disaster-relief meeting in south China's Hunan Province on Friday.
According to the ministry's statistics, 83 percent of the rebuilding work had begun by October 13.
From January to September, 95,454 geological incidents occurred in China, four and half times more than the same period of 2005 and the worst year since 1998, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources. Disasters included floods, mud slides and rock falls caused by the series of typhoons that swept through China this year.
A series of natural disasters have killed 2,309 Chinese people and left 567 people missing this year. The disasters caused direct economic losses of 195 billion yuan (US$24 billion) and some 13.2 million people were evacuated and relocated.
The central government has already allocated 3.2 billion yuan (US$4 million) of emergency disaster-relief funding to disaster-hit regions.
Funding to rebuild the houses is mainly organized by local governments, which are also helping victims apply for bank loans. Local governments like those in southeast China's Fujian Province and southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have granted house building tax rebates worth 160 million yuan (US$20 million) and mobilized volunteers to help with the building work.
(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2006)