government of Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, one of the worst-hit areas in the May 12 earthquake, has begun to relocate more than 50,000 people to avoid possible landslides.
Landslides have been triggered by aftershocks from the 8.0-magnitude quake, which has buried houses and posed great danger to local residents.
Wenchuan Communist Party chief Wang Bin said human safety was paramount and called for every possible effort to make the mass relocation safe and smooth.
Wang said the relocation must be concluded by June 30 when the rainy season starts.
The quake on May 12 claimed 15,941 lives in Wenchuan and left 7,662 missing.
In the 24 hours ending Thursday noon, 178 aftershocks were monitored in the quake zone, none above 4.0 magnitude, according to the China Earthquake Administration.
A total of 11,779 aftershocks have been detected in the area since May 12.
(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2008)