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Elixir of life pours into earthquake village

[ 2009-04-27 14:08]     字号 [] [] []  
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For thousands of years, the Qiang people in Luobo village more than 2,000 m above sea level have had to collect or haul water for daily use.

"Getting enough water for drinking and other basic needs was always a top concern for us," Ma Luquan, 56, a farmer who grows corn in northern Wenchuan county, said yesterday.

Last year, Ma and about 1,000 of his fellow villagers from the Qiang minority ethnic group had to leave the area after the deadly quake struck Sichuan province on May 12 and devastated Luobo.

But when the Qiangs moved into their newly built homes in an area adjacent to their former village, they had a pleasant surprise waiting for them: a network of pipes carrying water from mountain streams.

"It's great. The water pours into wells in our village and we don't have to walk very far now. It's such a simple thing and yet so important," Ma said.

The Qiangs are one of 56 ethnic groups in the country, and have a population of more than 300,000. Most of them live in northwestern Sichuan.

Forty-four Qiang villagers died in Luobo, while almost all of the 200-odd buildings in their village were destroyed, village head Ma Qianguo said.

Luobo is one of the oldest Qiang settlements and used to be famous for its architecture and culture. The red radish - after which the village is named - grown there was famous for its taste and freshness.

The transformation in the village's water supply system came about with help from community leaders and members of Jiangmen, a city in Guangdong province. They provided funds for a major part of the village reconstruction and its surrounding mountainous areas in the Minjiang River valley.

The village now gets water from springs 13.5 km away. The network cost 3.66 million yuan ($536,000) to build, which came from the Jiangmen government.

The water pipeline is part of the 100 million-yuan rebuilding project for Luobo. The amount has come from Jiangmen authorities and private donors, Zhen Lifu, assistant mayor of Jiangmen's municipal people's government, said at a ceremony yesterday to mark the start of the water supply network.

The money will also help restore the mountain roads leading up to the village as well as the farmlands, Zhen said.

More than 200 new buildings have been built since the people of Jiangmen joined the reconstruction efforts, village head Ma said.

"The water network will help villagers eke out a better living and live a healthier life. We hope the move will boost the local tourism industry, too," Zhen said. He is hopeful of such a development because lodging and other facilities for tourists will be built on the site of the original village.

"Our lives were changed forever by the quake but now we can use the facilities to rebuild our future," Ma Luquan said.


1. How many ethnic groups are there in the country?

2. What is Luobo named after?

3. Where does the village now get its water from?


1. 56.

2. The red radish.

3. From springs 13.5 km away/a network of pipes carrying water from mountain streams.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Elixir of life pours into earthquake village

About the broadcaster:

Elixir of life pours into earthquake village

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.