China is shifting the focus of its earthquake recovery effort to helping the millions of displaced people from the search for survivors of the May 12 disaster in Sichuan province, a top official said Saturday.
With more than 14 million people displaced by the quake and 15 million rooms damaged or destroyed, sheltering the people affected is becoming the priority, Premier Wen Jiabao said.
The official Xinhua news agency says he told reporters in the stricken town of Yingxiu that the tent shortage is the worst problem facing the recovery effort. "We have collected the tents nationwide and got aid from international community, but tents are still lacking," he said.
The government has told China's tent manufacturers to deliver 30,000 tents to the affected area in central China every day, Wen said.
The official death toll rose by almost 5,000 Saturday to 60,560, the government reported, but with 26,221 people missing, it is expected to total well over 80,000. Another 352,290 were injured.
The government has sent 110,000 soldiers and police to keep order, search for survivors and help with reconstruction. It has also said it will commit at least $10.7 billion to reconstruction over the next two years, Wen said.
The government is worried about possible flooding from lakes formed by landslides in the mountains above badly affected cities. Xinhua said 34 new lakes are rapidly growing in size and threatening to burst their banks.
Heavy monsoon rains could start falling soon, adding to fears of flooding and water contamination.
Also on Saturday, Wen said China will commit $10 million to the Burmese relief effort, following a cyclone three weeks ago that is estimated to have killed 78,000 people in the country, while another 56,000 are missing.