China: Two years to rebuild quake-hit provinces

Rebuilding in two of China’s provinces hit by last month’s massive earthquake should be complete by 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao said today.

The official Xinhua News Agency also quoted Mr Wen as saying that everyday life in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces should be almost back to normal soon.

The two provinces were not damaged as badly as neighbouring Sichuan, the epicentre of the May 12 earthquake. he majority of the more than 69,000 killed were in the province.

“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,” Mr Wen was quoted as saying after a three-day visit to the provinces to inspect rebuilding work after China’s worst disaster in three decades.

Sichuan officials say they want to rebuild communities within three years.

Beijing has already ordered China’s richest provinces and cities to adopt hard-hit areas and send aid such as tents and drinking water, with experts in construction and city planning to follow.

Mr Wen also said local officials should guard against epidemics, although there have been no signs of such health problems so far.

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