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Senior official renews call for tents for China's quake region

    BEIJING, May 20 (Xinhua) -- A senior official on Tuesday reiterated the government's call for tents, saying it needed to have more shelter for the estimated 5 million people left homeless by the May 12 earthquake.

    The government has allocated 280,000 tents to the quake-devastated areas, which is far from enough, Jiang Li, vice minister of Civil Affairs, told a press conference here about the progress of quake relief work.

    The ministry had ordered another 700,000 tents from factories and will deliver them to the quake-hit areas as soon as possible, she noted.

    According to Jiang, the government has also purchased materials enough to make 800,000 makeshift sheds and relevant departments have urged the construction of mobile houses.

    Jiang also advised the homeless to seek temporary shelter with family or friends.

    "We will do our utmost to ensure that homeless people have a place to live," she said.

    Jiang also said after temporary shelters are built, the government will guarantee that the survivors have food, drinking water and tools to start the reconstruction of their homes.

    On Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang called for the international community to offer tents among other relief donations to survivors in quake-hit Sichuan.

    "China would like the international community to give priority to tents when providing relief materials," Qin said.

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