New Delhi, May 23, : China has appealed to the international community again to provide tents to its quake-hit Sichuan province, which needs around 3.3 million tents.
About 4, 00,000 tents have been sent to quake-hit areas but they are not enough, said the Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang at a press conference in Sichuan.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development on Thursday urged local authorities to build one million temporary homes by August 10, to make up for the shortfall.
President Hu Jintao visited two tent manufacturers in Zhejiang province on Thursday, urging them to produce as many as possible, reflecting the urgency of the situation.
The government said it needs tents to house nearly five million people who were displaced by the quake which measured eight on the Richter Scale.
Hu presided over a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee earlier on Thursday.
Rescuers were ordered by the party leadership to search for trapped people in everyillage, to ensure that no one was left behind, and to try to treat all injured people, in order to "save as many lives as possible".
They leadership agreed that the current situation is still grave and the relief work is tough. It ordered shipments of more food, water, clothing and bedding, as well as tents and makeshift housing.
Local authorities were also urged to maintain social stability, assist farmers in restoring agricultural production, and help students go back to school as soon as possible.
On Thursday, Premier Wen Jiabao flew to the quake-battered zone, the second time in less than two weeks, to ensure quick and efficient relief work. Aboard the plane to Sichuan, Wen said: "Reconstruction will be a hard and long-term task."
Wen flew in a helicopter to Beichuan county to inspect the situation at onef the largest "quake lakes" - formed when rivers are blocked by landslides - at 4:40 pm. There are 34 such lakes in the province.
According to the reports in China Daily, life for people left homeless by the quake, is gradually returning to normal, thanks to temporary housing and other necessities provided by the government.
The May 12 quake death toll reached 51,151 on Thursday, and 288,431 injured, the Information Office of the State Council said, adding that 29,328 were missing.
The Ministry of Health reported that hospitals have taken in 68,608 injured people since the quake; and by noon on Thursday 28,497 had been discharged.
No major outbreak of epidemic diseases or other public health threats have been reported in quake-stricken areas. Over 5,000 health workers have fanned out to disinfect quake-hit villages, and doctors and nurses are stationed round the clock in refugee camps to try to prevent survivors from falling sick.
On Thursday the State Electricity Regulatory Commission said that power supply was restored in most parts of quake-hit areas. But Beichuan county, one of the worst hit, was still blacked out and power supply to Hongyuan was cut off again due to aftershocks.
Water supply has also been restored in all the county seats affected in the quake except Wenchuan and Beichuan.
Local authorities in Chengdu on Thursday issued a notice ordering all government departments and enterprises to resume operations.
Directions were given to banks, schools, shops, restaurants and government units to operate as usual, while market, price and drug regulators were urged to step up supervision to maintain stability.
The Ministry of Railways announced on Thursday that all the wagons trapped in a tunnel on the Baoji-Chengdu railway have been towed away, paving the way for the reopening of the line.
CCTV reported the tunnel would reopen tomorrow after workers clear the debris and fix the tunnel.
When the quake struck on May 12, a 40-car freight train derailed, caught fire, and was trapped in the tunnel, paralysing the railway.
Sichuan recorded 7,182 aftershocks after the May 12 quake, the strongest measuring 6.1 magnitude on the Richter scale, according to the provincial government.
Rain is forecast to sweep the quake-hit regions next week and could trigger landslides and mud-rock flows, the National Meteorological Center warned on Thursday.
The rain is also likely to add to the risk of quake lakes, meteorologists said.