Making houses into quake-proof, comfortable homes

Updated: 2012-05-22 07:33

By Ju Chuanjiang and Zhao Ruixue in Kashgar, Xinjiang (China Daily)

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Two years ago, 62-year-old Enwer was reluctant to move out of his adobe house even though it was cracking and vulnerable to tremors.

Making houses into quake-proof, comfortable homes

Uygur children at a kindergarten in Yengisar county, Xinjiang, say hello in Mandarin to visitors in April. The kindergarten was built with the help of Shandong province. [Ju Chuanjiang / China Daily]

Now he can't wait to move into his new home.

"For the new home, we not only had to use up all of our savings but borrow at least 20,000 yuan ($3,200) from the bank. We didn't think it was worth it," Enwer said.

"Besides, although the new home is solid, it may not be as comfortable as the old ones we have lived in for generations," Enwer added.

In 2010, Enwer's village in Yengisar county, Kashgar prefecture, in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, was chosen by the Shandong provincial government as a pilot for a project to restore dilapidated houses.


Making houses into quake-proof, comfortable homes

The pilot was part of a national program launched in 2010 that requires 19 developed provinces and cities to offer economic assistance to Xinjiang.

However, this project didn't go smoothly at first nearly all the villagers were opposed to it.

They didn't change their minds until last year when some were chosen to conduct fact-finding research in Shandong villages.

During the research, Enwer marveled at the fruit trees, greenhouse vegetables and well-equipped houses that rural Shandong residents have been enjoying for decades.

Enwer shared his pictures of Shandong with his fellow villagers and led the way in accepting the restoration.

Now standing in front of the nearly finished two-story compound, Enwer and his fellow villagers can't hold back their smiles.

"Now I wish I could live 100 years in the new house," said Enwer.

"All of the new houses in the four counties in Kashgar can stand up to magnitude-8 earthquakes. We have tried to maintain their original architectural and cultural characteristics after the renovation," said Wang Lisheng, deputy chief of the Shandong government branch for helping Xinjiang's development.

The 100 new houses in Enwer's village were all built with 80 square meters of living place and 500 square meters for raising livestock.

According to Wang, 18,400 new houses will have been built in the four counties by the end of this year.

In another village in Yengisar county, 72-year-old Nazimtic is no less excited when mentioning the new house he is about to move into.

The new houses in his village are not only equipped with tap water, solar-powered baths, separate kitchens and washrooms, and there are also squares for recreation, including a 500-meter corridor decorated with grapes.

In addition, seven greenhouses for vegetables have been built to the south of Nazimtic's village.

To help villagers master basic skills such as planting, maintenance and dress-designing, training classes have been held regularly and since last year more than 300 experts have been sent from Shandong to teach them skills.

Nineteen-year-old Amel, who is now good at managing flowers, can earn 1,300 yuan ($206) a month working in a flower company.

"I've gained loads of experience managing flowers. When I end my contract with the company, I'll open a flower shop," Amel said.

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