June 22, 2008

China: Wen Jiabao Visits Shaanxi, Gansu

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

[Xinhua by 2010: "Chinese Premier Says Reconstruction in Quake- Hit Shaanxi, Gansu To be Complete by 2010"]

LANZHOU, June 22 (Xinhua) - The lives of quake-affected people should basically be back to normal in northwestern China's Shaanxi and Gansu Provinces in two months, and reconstruction in the two provinces should be basically completed, Premier Wen Jiabao said here on Sunday.

Wen made the remarks during his three-day visit to Shaanxi and Gansu Provinces starting from Friday.

"Authorities should continue to stick to the 'people first' policy in their work, and guard against epidemics," Wen said, hailing the two provinces' efforts in reconstruction work since the May 12 earthquake.

"I hope that life of the quake-affected people in Shaanxi and Gansu can be basically restored in two months from now, while reconstruction in the two provinces can be completed in two years," he said.

Wen said the main focus of reconstruction in Shaanxi and Gansu is to repair and rebuild damaged peasant housing.

The new buildings must be safe, economical, and less land- consuming, with safety as the top concern, according the premier, who added that schools, hospitals, and other public buildings must meet the highest safety standards.

In the meantime, Wen Jiabao said, efforts should be made to ensure the resumption of economic development in the quake zones. Authorities should make extra efforts in reconstruction work in poverty-stricken counties in the quake zones, to help with their economic development.

Wen also called on local authorities to be ready for aftershocks, mud flow and landslides, and to limit casualties.

The 66-year-old premier visited quake-affected people in the badly-hit Lueyang County in Shaanxi Province Friday afternoon, and urged people to resume farming while rebuilding their lost homes.

He then visited students at a middle school and encouraged them to work harder and devote themselves to the development of their hometowns.

Wen also inspected reconstruction work in Gansu's Longnan city on Saturday.

State Councillor Ma Kai accompanied Wen during the visit.

As of Saturday noon, the death toll in the May 12 earthquake had reached 69,181.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 0804 22 Jun 08.

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