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September 28, 2009

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Wen urges Sichuan to overcome challenges

PREMIER Wen Jiabao said that reconstruction work on earthquake-shattered areas in southwest China's Sichuan Province must still overcome challenges before it can be judged a complete success.

Wen made the remarks while visiting the quake zone from Thursday to Saturday. It was his eighth trip to the area since the May 12 earthquake last year that left almost 90,000 people dead or missing.

Wen encouraged officials and the public to continue reconstruction work in ways that put people and their livelihoods first.

In the three days, Wen visited epicenter Wenchuan County, Beichuan County, and Qingchuan County.

Reconstruction of 1.24 million permanent rural residences, about 97 percent of the total number of houses in need of rebuilding, has so far been completed. Almost 3,000 schools are under reconstruction, about 87 percent of the total in need.

An estimated 97.6 percent of the damaged enterprises with annual prime operating revenues above 5 million yuan (US$732,000) have resumed production.

Wen urged officials to ensure people made homeless by the quake move into permanent houses as soon as possible, especially impoverished farmers.

However, "quality and safety should always come first."

Governments at all levels should work to resolve issues generating social problems and enhance security checks, Wen said.

He said local governments should more strictly supervise donations and respect the will of donors and their right to know about the distribution of their donations.

Authorities should work to restore public services quickly and improve infrastructure construction, Wen said.


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