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Chinese Vice Premier calls for environmental protection in quake-hit Yushu

BEIJING, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has urged reconstruction authorities to protect the fragile ecosystem and improve living conditions during their work in the quake-hit Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Hui was speaking at a meeting held by the State Council on Friday in Beijing to evaluate a report on the reconstruction's impact on resources and the environment.

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Yushu in the Himalayan northwest Qinghai Province on April 14, leaving at least 2,200 deaths.

The State Council, or Cabinet, approved the report at the meeting and Hui said reconstruction planners should consider the impact of their projects on the ecosystem.

The epicenter of the devastating quake was at the headwaters of three major rivers -- the Yangtze, the Yellow and the Lancang rivers -- that run through China and neighboring countries.

The clearing of debris, selection of sites for new towns and development of other industries in the quake area should all prioritize environmental protection, and natural forests as well as vegetative cover should be protected and restored, Hui said.

The government has pledged to finish reconstruction work within three years.

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