China warns over quake corruption
Chinese regulators have warned that any corrupt practices linked to
relief supplies for the Sichuan earthquake will be severely punished.
Officials are working to get tents and supplies to the five million
people made homeless by the 12 May quake.
The official death toll is now more than 41,000, and another 32,000
people are still missing.
There was some good news when a woman was reportedly rescued from a
tunnel of a hydropower plant. The state news agency Xinhua said she had
been trapped in the tunnel in Hongbai for nine days.
She has been air-lifted to hospital, suffering from multiple
fractures, but she is expected to survive.
But aid workers hold out little hope of finding many more survivors.
Both domestic and international aid has been flowing into the
earthquake zone, with supply planes landing from countries including the
US, Russia and Singapore.
Chengdu: Schoolchildren attend class in a makeshift
classroom at the Qingyang camp for China's homeless
earthquake victims in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan
province on May 21. The 507 homeless quake victims housed
here do not know how long they will have to stay at a camp
set up on a football field inside a sports centre which is
laid out with military precision in the form of long lines
of pre-fabricated one-room shelters squeezed tightly
together to maximise the use scant space. -AFP
But China says more tents are desperately needed to provide temporary
shelter for families.
Bulldozers have been levelling ground so that more camps can be set
up, reporters at the scene said.
In one tent city in Mianzhu, a 52-year-old man told the French news
agency AFP that he had nothing.
"We don't know where we're going to find money to rebuild our
village," Ma Jingsuan said. "We're entirely dependent on the
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to send 250,000 temporary housing
units to the region by the end of June, and one million within three
In a circular, the Communist Party's graft watchdog told local
agencies to deal "swiftly and severely" with any official corruption
linked to relief work, Xinhua news agency reported.
The source, destination and quantity of relief supplies should be
made public, it said, and police should crack down on any fraudulent
collection of donations for earthquake victims.
There have already been reports of scam text messages calling for
donations to help survivors. In the earthquake zone, many residents
whose homes are still standing have been sleeping outside because of
continued fear of aftershocks.
Rain has also been falling, compounding their misery.. Mr Wen ordered
patrols to constantly monitor all dams as the bad weather continued.
Thousands of residents have also been evacuated from an area in
Qingchuan county where large cracks have appeared in the top of a
mountain, Xinhua said.