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Progress made in quake-resistant houses

Hou Liqiang
Updated: Sep 28,2021 07:19 AM    China Daily

Limited damage amid strong earthquakes in May showed that China has made marked progress in promoting quake-resistant housing in rural areas, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said on Sept 27.

"In the 6.4 magnitude jolt that struck Yangbi, Yunnan province, and the 7.4 magnitude one that hit Madoi, Qinghai province, no people in rural areas were killed by collapsed houses," Qu Qi, director of the ministry's department of construction quality supervision, told a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office.

The country will take more measures to make rural houses more quake-resistant, he said.

To improve supervision of the construction of rural houses and make them more quake-resistant, he said the ministry made rural housing management a key part of a guideline on quake-resistant building.

Passed at an executive meeting of the State Council in May, the guideline came into force on Sept 1.

It says governments at or above county-level should offer necessary support for the reinforcement of rural houses and public facilities with inadequate earthquake-resistant capabilities.

It also stipulates that local governments should ensure that dilapidated rural houses they renovate, houses they build to resettle rural residents and buildings built in post-disaster reconstruction should all meet earthquake-resistant standards.

"Joining hands with other government bodies, the ministry will make consistent efforts to screen and rule out safety hazards in rural housing," Qu said.

Zhang Xiaohong, vice-minister of housing and urban-rural development, said the ministry incorporated much of its experience in reinforcing rural buildings in the guideline.

"Following our consistent efforts in the future, there will be even greater changes to rural houses' earthquake-resistant capabilities," he said.

The guideline also includes a series of penalties for violations that result in inadequate earthquake-resistant capabilities.

If builders fail to meet compulsory earthquake-resistant standards, for example, they will be fined 2 to 4 percent of the contract payment. They will also have to rebuild or reinforce the buildings and offer compensation for associated losses.

They could have their business licenses revoked in serious cases. China is prone to earthquakes, the ministry said.

The seismic intensity in more than 58 percent of its land area is at or higher than Grade VII in the country's 12-tier earthquake scale. That land is home to 55 percent of China's population, it said.