China Exclusive: Quake-leveled Yushu back to life after two-year reconstruction

XINING, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Two-and-a-half years of reconstruction work has been wrapped up in northwest China's quake-hit Yushu Prefecture, just as winter ushers in blizzards and hailstorms.

Tsering Dekyi, a Tibetan nurse, shed tears as she said goodbye to a temporary hospital made of prefabricated plank houses.

She worked there for more than 900 days after the devastating 7.1-magnitude earthquake left 2,698 dead and over 12,000 injured in April 2010.

Doctors and nurses moved into the new People's Hospital of Yushu Prefecture, the largest of its kind in post-quake Yushu, this week.

The hospital is equipped with sophisticated medical equipment and operating rooms that enable cardiac, organ transplant and brain surgeries, according to Wang Qinhu, the leader of the reconstruction project.

"It is a very high-tech hospital on par with those in many developed regions," Wang said.

Yushu is an isolated region on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Wen Guodong, deputy Party chief of the prefecture, said the government made improving people's livelihood a primary concern in the post-quake reconstruction work.

He said construction of around 39,000 houses for rural and urban residents, and another 8,000 for monks, had been completed by the end of October, with a total investment of 9.7 billion yuan (1.5 billion U.S. dollars).

Residents in Gyegu, the town most devastated by the quake, are moving into their new homes.

In addition to housing construction, a total of 44 schools and 53 hospitals have been rebuilt in Yushu at a cost of 2.8 billion yuan.

After the devastating quake, around 10,000 students in Yushu were relocated to other schools throughout the country.

By September, they had all returned to reconstructed schools equipped with computer labs, science labs and libraries.

"The new school is way better than the old one," said Jamyang Chokgyal, who has returned to the prefecture's Minzu High School after two years away in neighboring Sichuan province.

A 74-year-old Tibetan woman who called herself Riyam told reporters that all the clothes she was wearing had been allocated by the local civil affairs department, adding that they were enough to keep her warm throughout months of winter cold.

She is among 27 seniors living in the Nampar Nangzed Nursing Home.

"All I am wearing, from the socks to the padded coat, are gifts from the government," she said.

The nursing home facility is the first of its kind in Yushu, and it receives 22,000 yuan from the government each month to tend to the elderly.

"I pray almost every day for those who have helped to shelter, warm and feed us," Riyam said.

Another 16 nursing centers are currently under construction in Yushu County. Once completed, they will cater to around 9,000 elderly people in need of government care.

Editor: Wang Yuanyuan