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Special> Aftermath of the Quake> Latest News
UPDATED: June 1, 2008  
Happy Children's Day, Chinese President Says to Quake-affected Kids
A magnitude 5.7 aftershock hit Ningqiang around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, leaving at least one injured, 860 houses destroyed and 3,100 damaged, adding up the damages

Chinese President Hu Jintao wished quake-affected kids a happy holiday ahead of Children's Day in northwestern Shaanxi Province, also heavily hit by the May 12 earthquake.

On Saturday morning, Hu arrived at Ningqiang county, neighboring to worst-hit Sichuan Province.

A magnitude 5.7 aftershock hit Ningqiang around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, leaving at least one injured, 860 houses destroyed and 3,100 damaged, adding up the damages.

Almost all the 340,000 locals in Ningqiang County were urged to live outdoors amid fear of possible aftershocks.

At Jinshansi village, almost all houses were flattened and villagers were living in tents for days.

As the Children's Day falls on Sunday, Hu went into a tent school in the village to condole the kids suffering from the quake.

"Today you have to study in the tent. But I promise you to help you build a new school. You will be sure to have a better classroom," he said after children stood up together and greeted him.

Then the President picked up a chalk, wrote 16 Chinese characters on the chalkboard and recited them together with the kids, "One in trouble, all to help; Rely on ourselves and work hard."

"When we rebuild our hometown, we should stick to this two sorts of spirits," Hu said.

"Many children are very brave and strong in front of the major earthquake. I have learned from you and see the hope of the quake-hit regions and the whole country. I believe you will strive to become stronger and work hard in the future," he said.

Hu wished the kids a happy holiday and handed around gifts to them.

He then inspected relief work at the village and asking local officials to set the examples and lead residents to rebuild the hometown.

At a medical camp, Hu walked from bed to bed, asking patients' conditions and heartening them to recover through treatment and good rest.

He shook hands with 12-year-old Zhao Shasha, who was receiving treatment there, and said, "Let's make a friend."

He also stopped 65-year-old Tao Yaoxiu from sitting up from herbed. The tearful elderly thanked him for coming to visit them and Hu answered, "We are people's servants. We should take care of your business."

He thanked medical workers for trying their best to save people and hope them to work harder to help locals.

News spread soon about the visit of President Hu and more villagers came to see him.

"We are thinking of you and worrying for you difficulties. Please don't worry, the Party and government will try every method to settle you down and rebuild your hometown," he said. "We will pull through the hard time with support and assistance from the government and people nationwide as well as your own efforts. Your life will be better."

On Saturday evening, Hu said at a meeting that the local government should balance the quake relief and economic development but relief work would top the agenda.

The country should first solve the most urgent housing problem, he said. More tents and shiftable houses should be shipped to the quake zone so that locals can settle down and kids can go to school.

He also asked local governments to well organize people to pickup farming as the harvest season is drawing near.

(Xinhua News Agency June 1, 2008)

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