Eighty percent of quake victims' corpses in southwest China's Sichuan Province have been buried or cremated, said vice-minister of civil affairs Jiang Li at a press conference on Tuesday.
Jiang said the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Health have sent experts to disaster-hit areas to supervise the handling of corpses.
Some 48 sets of machines and vehicles have been sent for handling, transporting and cremating bodies, she said.
The central government will provide 5,000 yuan (714 U.S. dollars) in subsidy to the family of each victim.
The identified dead bodies were cremated or buried promptly. For those yet to be identified, police and medical workers kept a numbered record, took pictures and collected body tissues for DNA tests. A DNA database of those unidentified dead bodies will be built for later identification, Jiang said.
She said the identification process of the corpses must be carried out as soon as possible, and they should be handled with respect and strictly in accordance with relevant rules.
To treat the corpses with care, the civil affairs departments should try to tidy up the remains of the dead and improve their looks before they are cremated or buried, all of which should observe the criteria of the Ministry of Health.
(Xinhua News Agency May 20, 2008)