Quake victim Zhang Chunfang (left) from Mingjing village, Jiangyou, Sichuan province, receives government aid on Saturday.
Minister of Civil Affairs Li Xueju has pledged that homeless families in the nation's quake-hit areas will get around 10,000 yuan ($1,460) each to help rebuild their homes.
Li told the national disaster and poverty relief conference in Beijing on Saturday that, with winter approaching, the authorities had stepped up efforts to ensure quake victims have homes and sufficient supplies.
Construction teams from 25 provinces and municipalities are racing against time to rebuild quake victims' homes before winter comes.
A nationwide campaign to donate cotton clothing and quilts will also be launched next month.
"We must make sure that all people in the quake zone have enough daily necessities and coal in the winter," he said.
He said the government has substantially raised relief payments to people affected by disasters and poverty over the past two years.
For example, an average relief subsidy of 1,500 yuan is currently given for each house destroyed by natural disasters, five times the amount in 2005.
The national minimum social security system currently covers more than 22 million urban residents and 38 million people in rural areas.
The system gives a monthly allowance of 130 yuan to eligible urban residents and 41 yuan to rural residents.
Around one million homeless people receive government relief every year.
Li criticized some local governments for exaggerating the impact of disasters in order to get more relief supplies from the central government.
"Such a practice will result in people's loss of trust toward the government," he said.
Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu told the conference that the government would provide greater disaster and poverty relief in the future.
"We are facing an unprecedented grave natural disaster situation this year," he said.
He said more than 24 million people have been evacuated because of natural disasters this year, 3.5 times more than normal.
More than 9 million homes have been destroyed by natural disasters, seven times the number in a normal year.
The frost and snowstorms that hit southern China earlier this year and the Sichuan earthquake have resulted in economic losses exceeding 1,000 billion yuan, five times the amount of a normal year.
"China is one of the countries worst hit by natural disasters," he said.
"The nation needs to give disaster relief to about 100 million people and poverty relief to about 60 million people annually," Hui added.
(China Daily September 30, 2008)