09/03/2008, 00.00
CHINA
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Wen Jiabao and quake victims’ problems on the threshold of winter

The Chinese government is set to launch an October campaign to collect clothes and blankets for quake survivors still living in tents.
Chengdu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said he would continue to work to bring relief to Sichuan quake victims during winter.

The Chinese leader yesterday visited some of the cities that were flattened back in May. His visit comes 110 days after the quake killed almost 80,000 people, leaving millions homeless, most of them still living in tents or temporary shelters.

In a hastily arranged press conference the premier said that repairing or replacing damaged and collapsed homes and rebuilding roads were the priority. But the work ahead was going to be touch; in fact it took more than 100 days to fully repair the trunk road linking quake-hit Dujiangyan to Wenchuan.

In the press conference Wen announced that in October a nationwide campaign will be launched to collect clothes and blankets for people living in the quake zone so that they could spend winter “safe and sound.”

China is also coping with the aftermath of another quake that hit the border area between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.

Premier Wen was the first leader to visit the quake zone after it was hit on 12 May. At that time he listened to people and wept with them.

But much of the credit that was gained was dissipated once the “tofu” school scandal broke out, revealing that thousands of schools and public buildings collapsed because of corruption, embezzlement and shoddy construction.

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