As people around China usher in 2009, survivors of last year's May 12th earthquake are facing their first winter since the tragedy. Their plight is a cause of much concern for people across the country.
As people around China usher in 2009, survivors of last year's May 12th earthquake are facing their first winter since the tragedy. Their plight is a cause of much concern for people across the country. [CCTV photo]
The earthquake's epicenter was in Sichuan Province，but 11 counties of northwest China's Shaanxi Province were also affected. And Lueyang was one of the most devastated counties.
In Xujiaping village of Lueyang County, rows of permanent new homes have been completed. All the houses are designed to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake，and each cost over 80-thousand yuan.
Ma Haibing, a villager, said, " We are bearing half the cost of the house, and the government is responsible for the other half. We paid 45-thousand yuan, and the government is paying the rest."
The local government has also sent stoves and quilts to all the families to help them tide over the cold winter months.
With a good harvest in the province this year, farmers will not need to worry about food. But the new houses have almost drained their funds. And the local government has taken a series of measures to encourage farmers to plant cash crops and raise livestock.
Xie Ming, the Head of Guozhen Town of Lueyang County, said, " From a long-term perspective, we are encouraging farmers to grow nuts, such as walnuts and chestnuts. We are also encouraging them to plant medicinal fungi, as well as mulberry trees for the silk industry. This will help them increase their incomes."
Jialing Square was the site of the biggest temporary settlement in Lueyang County in the aftermath of the earthquake. Now it is a vibrant place with people dancing and singing to celebrate the New Year.
Local resident said, " We are doing our best to put on a good dance performance. We wish for a happy new year, which we hope is starting on a good note."
The local government also organized various activities to boost the atmosphere for the New Year.
More than 9-thousand households in Lueyang county have already moved into new homes. And 450-million yuan from Tianjin Municipality is already available to fund 49 infrastructure projects.