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Victory won in battle for safe housing


China has declared victory over a crucial front of its battle against rural poverty — safe housing.

China DailyUpdated: September 24, 2020

China has declared victory over a crucial front of its battle against rural poverty — safe housing.

The nation's impoverished population stood at 98.9 million before central authorities started a new round of anti-poverty drive in late 2012.

The State Council Information Office holds a news conference on ensuring safe housing in the battle against poverty, in Beijing, Sept. 23, 2020. [Photo by Liu Jian/China SCIO]

All of them had safe homes by the end of June, said Ni Hong, vice minister of the housing and urban-rural development, on Sept. 23.

Among the 23.4 million rural families registered as poor, 11.8 million originally had safe residences, he told a news conference held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing.

The remaining rural families acquired safe homes through house refurbishing, relocation and public rental housing projects, Ni said.

The ministry has provided funding and technical support to help poor households refurbish old homes or build new ones.

For older or disabled homeowners who cannot undertake the task, the ministry has built dormitories and public rental homes for them. They are also encouraged to live with relatives who can offer them a safe living environment.

"We have ensured that dangerous homes are all deserted, and inhabited ones are safe," he said.

The safe home campaign has also moved to fix poor living environments. For example, authorities in Guizhou province, one of the nation's most impoverished regions, have launched a project to separate bedrooms and kitchens from animal dens and toilets.

It has transformed the indoor landscapes of 455,000 families in Guizhou to ensure housing safety, said Zhou Hongwen, head of the provincial housing and urban-rural development department.

Despite the achievements, Ni noted that the floods that have wreaked havoc across southern provinces this summer have damaged homes and displaced many.

The ministry has registered all affected families and is racing to address their woes.

"We are striving to offer them safe homes before the year ends, so that they can celebrate the new year in a safe and happy atmosphere," he added.

A safe and reliable home is one of the baseline requirements that authorities have set to track the progress in the nationwide campaign against absolute poverty.

Other thresholds: a minimum annual per capita income of about 4,000 yuan (US$590) and access to compulsory education, affordable healthcare and safe drinking water.

The announcement came as central authorities are racing to end domestic poverty by end of this year.