Chinese tent makers are going all out to produce urgently needed temporary shelter for the millions left homeless by the May 12 earthquake.
"We are now racing against time," said Yang Baoqing, board chairman of Zhejiang Taipusen Leisure Goods Co., Ltd. in eastern Zhejiang Province.
President Hu Jintao visited the company on Thursday, urging workers to produce as many tents as possible to meet needs of quake survivors.
About 5 million people became homeless in the 8.0 magnitude quake that struck Sichuan Province and affected several other provinces. More than 55,000 people have been confirmed dead in Sichuan alone.
"Each time 1,000 tents are produced, we will ship them to the quake-hit area," said Yang.
About 3,000 staff are working in three shifts at the company, which has agreed to produce 50,000 tents. The company has also donated 2,000 tents to the quake homeless.
Jiangsu Acme Camping Products Co., Ltd. in eastern Jiangsu Province will produce 120,000 tents. The company has 3,500 workers and its 52 production lines are at full operation.
To produce more quality tents for the quake survivors, the capacity of the production lines has more than quadrupled, said Li Honglai, Acme's board chairman.
The 120,000 tents would be completed and shipped by June 20, Li said.
Movable plank house manufacturers have also been mobilized to provide the products to the quake zone.
"All 12 movable plank house businesses in Guangdong Province have been mobilized," said Vice Governor Li Ronggen. "As ordered, the province will produce 90,000 sets of movable houses for the quake-hit area."
"We now do not accept other orders any more in an effort to go all out to produce the movable houses," said Cai Xiaoping, chief of the production section of a steel structure engineering company based in Guangzhou, the provincial capital.
Cai said the company produced thousands of square meters of such houses each day in the past, but now it should produce more than 10,000 square meters a day.
The company is planning to recruit workers to help complete the task, according to Cai.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang on Thursday called on international community to provide tents first among relief donations to its quake-hit Sichuan Province.
He said approximately 3.3 million tents are needed in the quake-hit areas.
Some 400,000 tents have been shipped to the quake-hit areas. Foreign countries had promised to donate 151,900 tents, of which 11,500 tents had been delivered.
(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2008)