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Looking back, Looking forward

[ 2009-05-13 13:28]     字号 [] [] []  
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Quake survivor Dong Shengya, 12, knows what she wants to do when she grows up.

"I want to build homes for people. I want to make sure all of us here live in safe, beautiful houses," said the pupil of Yingxiu Primary School, which was devastated by last year's May 12 quake in Sichuan province.

Dong's dream of better homes got closer to reality yesterday, when President Hu Jintao urged the authorities to complete reconstruction work in time.

Hu spoke at a ceremony in front of quake-hit Xuankou Middle School to mark the first anniversary of the disaster. Hu said priority "should be given to restoring basic living conditions and infrastructure and make sure people in quake-hit areas live in permanent homes as soon as possible".

The two schools are located in Yingxiu town, Wenchuan county, the epicenter of the 8.0-magnitude quake which left more than 87,000 dead or missing.

Hu, followed by Vice-Premier Li Keqiang and about 400 other mourners including foreign dignitaries, healthcare workers, residents and volunteers, yesterday expressed condolences to quake victims and to those who sacrificed their lives during relief efforts.

The president walked to an epitaph and led the group in placing a white chrysanthemum beneath the wall, accompanied by a bugle call to mark the mourning.

At the temporary site of Yingxiu Primary School nearby, about 1,000 other mourners, made up mostly of quake survivors and students, followed the ceremony on large screens and sang the national anthem together.

Hu also called for efforts to monitor and manage the use of reconstruction and relief work to ensure the quality of reconstruction projects. He also urged enhancing measures to prevent and cope with disasters.

Mourners at the site yesterday looked beyond the quake and were heartened to see Yingxiu residents' resolve to move forward and build better lives.

Deng Lixin, an army major from the Chengdu Military Command, said the most impressive change in the town in the past year was not the reconstruction but the residents' renewed spirit.

"I was here on May 17 last year. It was an extremely tragic scene and the quake victims were hit hard physically and emotionally," said Deng, 37.

"But today I saw a hotpot restaurant named 'Enjoy Living' has opened near the entrance of the town, with several people enjoying their lunch there.

"Yingxiu seems to be fully prepared to start its new life."

For Yingxiu pupil Dong, whose family members also managed to escape unhurt in the quake and are now living in prefabricated housing, the future beckons.

"I know what the houses I am going to build will have," she said. "They will have very nice decorations."

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Looking back, Looking forward

About the broadcaster:

Looking back, Looking forward

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.