NW China's Zhouqu mourns victims, steps up reconstruction one year after devastating mudslide

ZHOUQU, Gansu, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of people gathered Monday morning and stood in silence to mourn more than 1,500 people killed in a mudslide in northwest China's Zhouqu County exactly one year ago.

At around 9 a.m., government officials and residents presented flowers at an 8.8-meter-high monument built to commemorate the victims of the Aug. 8, 2010 mudslide.

The monument, surrounded by a wall bearing the names of all of the victims, was built on the former site of the village of Yueyuan. The village was completely destroyed by the mudslide.

China's Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo attended the memorial, expressing condolences to the victims and respect to the soldiers and people engaged in relief and reconstruction efforts.

Zebazo, deputy governor of Gansu, said the province will continue to focus on rebuilding the county. The reconstruction is projected to cost a total of 5.02 billion yuan (781 million U.S. dollars), with funds for reconstruction earmarked by central, provincial and county governments. More than 26 percent of the funds have already been spent, with 137 out of the 170 planned rebuilding projects already under way, he said.

Feng Duping, a quake survivor who lost seven of his family members in the disaster, said the reconstruction projects have given him more hope.

"They (the quake victims) are also looking at the changes from heaven. What was once rubble has been turned into construction sites," said Feng. "Reconstruction brings us hope."

Editor: Yang Lina