China’s Massive Postquake Tasks

The Christian Science Monitor gives an update on earthquake relief efforts:

“The most difficult thing for the government will be resettling victims,” says Peng Zongchao, a crisis management expert at Tsingua University’s Public Policy Institute in Beijing. “They will have to rebuild 3 million houses at least.”

For the time being the authorities are putting off that monstrous task. Having averted the danger of a major flood by draining the biggest quake lake, they are now pouring all their efforts into keeping victims watered, fed, and healthy while they throw up temporary housing anywhere they can find a flat piece of land.

They are moving fast: 107,000 units were ready for occupation by last Friday, according to official figures, while another 250,000 were in the pipeline. It will probably be many months, however, before enough of this sort of housing has been built, given the numbers of people needing shelter.

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