Gansu earthquake- quake-proof home construction urged

CNC report from Gansu
Added On July 25, 2013

First the latest on Gansu earthquake which has killed at least 95 people...

Authorities call for speeding up the construction of quake-proof housing in the quake zones, as most of the collapsed houses were adobe rooms.

Here's a look.

Zhu is a villager at Majiagou in the town of Meichuan in Minxian County.

He told CNC that all the adobe houses at his village have collapsed in the quake.

His eight-room adobe house swayed but did not collapse.

However, frequent aftershocks turned his home into a pile of rubble and killed his mother.

SOUNDBITE: ZHU CHUNJIE, Villager in Minxian County
"My mother was 73 years old. She didn't run out of the house in time when the earthquake occurred."

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake jolted the juncture area of Minxian and Zhangxian counties in the city of Dingxi on Monday morning.

At least 95 people have been killed, with more than 1,000 others injured.

An initial investigation shows that the quake has caused the collapse of nearly 52,000 houses and severely damaged about 240,000 homes.

Most of them were adobe rooms. They could not withstand such a strong earthquake, especially for those built on the loess and stone hills.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) RAN WANXIANG, Vice Governor, Gansu Province:
"Villages near the epicenter were hit hard. Most houses in the villages were build of mud bricks and they could not stand such a massive tremor.

Houses with the brick-and-wood structure behaved much better.

Zhu's neighbor's brick-made yard was undamaged and is in good condition, which has become a shelter for nearby locals.

SOUNDBITE: ZHU ZHIQIANG, Villager in Minxian County
"We put up a shed here for our children to sleep in tonight."

Local governments have relocated more than 226,000 people. But officials say many people are still waiting for a shelter for the night.

SOUNDBITE: MEI YANZHONG, Minxian County official
"Most of the houses in the village collapsed. Many people have nowhere to live in. Meanwhile, food, drinking water and other relief goods are badly needed. The county government is sending more tents to the quake zone."

Now, the rescue is still underway.

Two helicopters and about 3,000 armed police, firefighters, soldiers and local government staff have been sent to the quake-hit region to help with rescue.
"Now a group of armed soldiers are ready to take a geological exploration to the quake zones, with the help of two drones. We sent two other helicopters to help with rescue."

Medical teams have also arrived at the quake-hit zone.

More than 1,200 injured people, 57 of whom are in critical condition, are being treated by the teams.

SOUNDBITE: MEI YANZHONG, Minxian County official
"Hospitals in our county are packed with the wounded. So we sent those walking wounded to township hospitals."

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) RAN WANXIANG, Vice Governor, Gansu Province:
"The top priority now is to rescue people. We're trying to get to some communities on foot as some roads are still blocked, and we must send the injured to hospitals as soon as possible. There's the potential for secondary disasters, and the precaution work is still very hard. Houses here were severely damaged and are prohibited to be lived in."

China has been working on a quake-proof rural housing construction project since 2006, which has benefited more than 2 million households so far.

In 2009, the Gansu provincial government proposed building 2 million such houses within five years.
However, with a scattered rural population of more than 20 million, there are still a large number of rural houses that have yet to be renovated.

Experts have called for the government to increase investment for rural housing renovation projects and improve rural residents' ability to handle earthquakes.