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November 26, 2010

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Latest fire compensation revealed

RESIDENTS from the 28-floor building which was damaged in the inferno on Monday last week in Jing'an District can choose to stay in their current temporary housing or receive rent subsidies to live somewhere else, according to a plan released yesterday.

The plan comes two days after the Jing'an District government released initial compensation plans for the affected residents on Tuesday.

Dong Luo, a community official with the district government, said the subsidies "would vary according to the value of each apartment."

The money will be paid in cash each month by the companies responsible for the accident, said the district government. Jing'an Construction Group and Shanghai Jiayi Decoration Co, which carried out the renovation project on the building, were blamed as unlicensed welders first ignited flammable materials.

The 156 affected households, together with hundreds of families who were evacuated from the two neighboring high-rises, are currently staying in 17 local hotels and inns.

Families had mixed feelings about the plan.

Chen Weizhong, who lost his 24-year-old daughter in the fire, told Shanghai Daily his family chooses to stay in the hotel where they live now.

Chen said the family has "no motivation to find another place" as they were still coping with his daughter's death.

The father said he is not satisfied with the compensation plan in which the family would get 960,000 yuan (US$144,288) besides the apartment compensation.

Chen's family has been rehoused in a hotel which is only several minutes walk from the damaged building.

"How about us?" said a member of a family from a building next to the damaged one.

A 99-year-old woman from the family died in hospital days after the fire. In the family's words, the old woman was scared to death by the inferno.

"What's the compensation for us? How can we just be forgotten?" said the family members, who were angry that they had been put in a hotel far away from their home.

Families who lost relatives in the fire are to receive 960,000 yuan for each victim and will receive further compensation according to the market price of their fire-damaged homes.

But so far no specific details have been announced.

Real estate agencies near the gutted building have ceased selling apartments or giving out rent information on the two adjacent buildings.

Agencies said some people who had once planned to rent an apartment in high-rises have been put off since the fire, which killed 58 people.

The apartments in the damaged building were priced between 22,000 yuan to 30,000 yuan per square meter before the fire - rents were 3,000 yuan per month on average.

Protective construction work and safety checks are about to be conducted on the damaged building and the two buildings nearby.

It is estimated that hundreds of displaced residents from the nearby high-rises may be able to move back in to their homes by as early as °?December 20.

Four people who were injured during the fire were discharged from Changhai Hospital yesterday - 62 people are still being treated at seven local hospitals.


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