China has ordered nationwide safety checks for schools a month after the Sichuan earthquake saw many collapse in heaps of rubble, killing thousands of children.
The toll from last month's 7.9 magnitude quake stands at nearly 87,000 dead or missing and millions more have been left homeless. At least 9,000 children died under schools that crumbled when many surrounding buildings stood firm.
"Local governments must carry out a through quality check on the public facilities from kindergartens to universities, like school buildings, dorms and public bathrooms," a notice on the Ministry of Education website (//www.moe.edu.cn) said.
"For these potentially dangerous buildings, we must stop using them and set up a database for future research."
Buildings built before 2001 would be paid special attention, the notice added.
The government has been asked repeatedly why so many schools toppled in the quake. Many grieving parents in devastated rural communities have tried in vain to seek answers.
Lin Qiang, vice inspector of the Sichuan provincial educational department, said last month that collapsed buildings might have been more solid "if we educational officials hadn't left loopholes for corruption".
China on Tuesday declared victory over an unstable "quake lake" as floodwaters were released downstream, where hundreds of thousands had been under threat of a second crisis.
Waters poured out of the Tangjiashan lake, the largest of more than 30 formed when landslides triggered by the earthquake dammed rivers, after soldiers blasted away rocks, mud and other rubble blocking its path along a sluice.
Water levels downstream in Mianyang had dropped on Wednesday after a torrent of muddy water rushed through the town, bringing trees, household debris, televisions, cars and the occasional body along with it.
"It came very close yesterday, but the water didn't enter my home so now I feel very relieved," said farmer Huang Yuanqi, 72, breathing a sigh of relief on the river bank opposite his damaged home.
"We can't wait until we can get out of these tents and back to our homes."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Haziran 2008, 18:23