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County sounds suicide alert for quake officials

ONE of the worst hit areas in last year's May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province is trying to identify any hard-working officials whose health might be in danger because of stress.

Deaths and suicides of quake zone officials have been blamed on stress and overwork.

A list of officials who might be at risk will be compiled by the end of the month, according to a notice issued by the Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County Committee of the Chinese People's Congress, yesterday's Chengdu-based Tianfu Morning Post reported.

The notice wants research conducted into the mental and physical condition of officials at risk as well as their work conditions and home life.

Special attention will be paid to officials who lost families in the earthquake, the notice said.

The notice calls for improved care for government officials and came after reports of suicides by officials after the earthquake.

It stressed the need for rest for the officials. Overtime should be avoided as much as possible and if it's unavoidable, extra holidays must be provided, the notice said.

Earlier this month Feng Xiang, 33, vice director of Bei-chuan's publicity department, hanged himself at his home.

He Zonghua, 40, director of the human resources and training department of the general office of Mianyang City, jumped from a 15th-floor hotel room in November.

Dong Yufei, 40, the agriculture commission head and disaster relief office director of Beichuan County, hanged himself in October.

The Beichuan government will set up a psychological aid center to provide counseling for officials and other people affected by the quake to help them cope with stress and depression, according to the report.

The quake killed about 20,000 people in Beichuan.


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