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Yunnan official to help gravel disease workers

A LEADING official in southwest China has pledged to help more than 50 migrant workers there suffering from a lung disease after working at a gravel factory in east China's Anhui Province, a Yunnan-based newspaper reported today.

Gao Wenhui, deputy chief of Shuifu County in Yunnan Province, said the local authority would seek a solution and 24 villagers have been hospitalized at government expense yesterday, according to the Metropolitan Times report.

Twelve people from the area have died from the same symptoms over the past two years.

The villagers had worked at a gravel factory in Fengyang County, Anhui's Chuzhou City, since 2004. By 2007, the number working there had reached 300.

In 2006, many of them began to suffer from chest pain, coughs and other respiratory problems. When one, Jing Facai, went to Beijing for treatment last year, the disease was identified as pneumoconiosis, caused by inhaling dust.

The local medical authority realized how serious the situation was in 2007 when the first death was reported.


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