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Nearly 2 mln without livelihood after China quake: state press

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 1, 2008
China's devastating earthquake has left nearly two million people without a means to make a living, state press said on Tuesday.

The 8.0-magnitude quake in the southwest has left 700,000 people unemployed and deprived 1.15 million farmers of their livelihood, Xinhua news agency said, quoting provincial vice-governor Li Chengyun.

The number of jobless jumped after it was determined that the quake had cost 372,000 urban residents their jobs, the report said.

The May 12 earthquake, China's worst natural disaster in a generation, has left more than 87,000 dead or missing and levelled large areas of Sichuan province.

Besides destroying millions of buildings, the quake caused some six billion dollars in damage to agriculture, the UN food agency said Monday in Rome.

The agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, said more than "30 million people in rural communities have been severely hit, losing most of their assets."

"Thousands of hectares of farmland were destroyed, millions of farm animals died, houses and grain stores collapsed and thousands of pieces of agricultural machinery were damaged," the agency said following a fact-finding mission to the province.

It added that it could take three to five years to rebuild Sichuan's agricultural sector.

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