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Activities Mark 40th Anniversary of Earthquakes in Hebei
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More than 2,000 people including government officials, local residents and earthquake experts gathered in Longyao county, north China's Hebei Province, on Wednesday to mark China's efforts in fighting two devastating earthquakes that hit the region 40 years ago.

Two earthquakes, measuring 6.8 degrees and 7.2 degrees on the Richter scale, jolted Longyao and Ningjin counties in Xingtai prefecture on March 8 and March 22, 1966 respectively, claiming 8,064 lives and injuring more than 38,000 people in an area of 23,000 square kilometers. The two quakes flattened more than five million houses.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the central government attached great importance to rescue work in the affected areas. The late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai investigated the disaster situation first-hand and visited local people the second day after the two earthquakes occurred.

More than 20,000 Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers started rescue work in the affected regions within one hour, and more than 37,000 people from other parts of China also joined in the rescue efforts.

New villages were built on the ruins of the earthquakes.

Other activities including an anti-earthquake and disaster relief symposium, an inauguration of a memorial hall and the unveiling of a monument to the Xingtai earthquakes.

(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2006)

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