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Ensuring safe housing and clean drinking water by Liu Yizhou,May 19, 2020 Adjust font size:


Editors Notes: Fifty-two of China’s counties and 2,707 of its villages currently remain in poverty. The country’s poverty-stricken population is much smaller than it was in the past, but the people in this group are some of the poorest of the poor and are not easy to help out of poverty. Senior citizens, people with illnesses, and people with disabilities constitute 45.7 percent of the nation’s impoverished citizens at present, which can make poverty alleviation more difficult. What is the current annual plan for China’s impoverished counties? How can poverty reduction industries develop and consolidate? How can the problem of students dropping out of school be addressed? How can better social insurance be provided to impoverished people? How can cleaner water and safer housing be made available in rural areas? How can people with disabilities be better cared for? China's Poverty Reduction Online website publishes the stories of five officials who are currently engaged in poverty alleviation work in various impoverished counties in order to answer these questions and elucidate the process. The following is the fourth story in the series from Liu Lin, director of the poverty alleviation office in Huize county, Qujing city, Yunnan province.


“I never thought that I would live in the city,” a resident of Huize county’s Mucheng relocation community named Guo Zhuchang told me while holding my hands tightly.


A 100-sq-m apartment with elevator access in an urban area seems like it could cost a lot. People who moved from the most impoverished parts of Huize county only need to pay 10,000 yuan (US$1,409), however. The government has invested in these kinds of projects in order to provide the impoverished people with safe housing in more prosperous areas.


Over 100,000 people like Mr. Guo have relocated from ruinous parts of Huize to relocation sites, more than 80,000 of whom are poverty-stricken. In excess of 240,000 people live at an elevation of 2,500 meters or higher in the county, where there are hot, dry valleys as well as frigid mountainous regions. Transportation is very difficult up to the mountains, which makes it difficult to provide people living deep in the mountains with high-quality education and health care. The intergenerational transmission of poverty in Huize can only be stopped by addressing the problems that exist in its upland areas.


It is important to respect people’s wishes when engaging in relocation efforts. Some residents of deeply impoverished regions are used to their living conditions and do not want to move. Others think that buying vegetables and other items will be expensive in urban areas, so they are very reluctant to make any changes. Poverty alleviation officials spent a lot of time talking to people who had reservations about relocating and eased their concerns until they agreed to move out of the harsh areas. Plans are in the works for all of the citizens who need to relocate in Huize by the end of June 2020. Mr. Guo now works at a construction site near Mucheng, and his wife works at a strawberry farm in the area. The other citizens who relocate will be able to find similar work.


Many of Huize’s impoverished residents live in homes that were built decades ago and are flimsy and run-down. We found 75,139 dilapidated houses in rural areas. Renovation work was carried out until none of the residences in the countryside were in disrepair any longer.


Many parts of Huize have experienced water shortages despite the fact that a major tributary of the Jinsha river known as the Niulan river runs through the county. The problem has been noticeable in places like Yangshan village of Yulu township. The Niulan runs below the village, but the limited infrastructure that existed made water storage and distribution difficult. People who live up the mountains could “see the river but did not have much water to drink” as a result of the steep, rugged terrain. Improvements were eventually made, and the 84 families who live in Yangshan are now able to enjoy safe, convenient tap water.


A total of 1,015 water infrastructure projects have been implemented in Huize since 2016 in order to ensure that nontoxic drinking water is available in its villages, which has benefited 437,000 people. Our poverty alleviation information system indicates that “quantity, quality, convenient access, and guaranteed supply” have been achieved throughout the county and meet standards.

Water management and utilization is very important. More than 2,700 drinking water projects were inspected in 2019. Ninety-eight of them were found to have problems, but they were all quickly rectified. One hundred and sixty-four consolidation and upgrade projects will be implemented in 2020 in order to further improve capacity and address seasonal and resource-based shortages.




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