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YICHANG - About 20,000 people from a county in Central China's Hubei province will be relocated in 2012 due to the risk of disastrous landslides around the Three Gorges Dam, local authorities said Wednesday.
The 20,000 people account for one-fifth of the population of Dongba county, located in the Enshi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture. The relocation process is under way, said Zhao Wenxing from the county's relocation headquarters.
Schools and hospitals that are in harm's way will be among the first buildings to be evacuated, Zhao said.
A total of 550 million yuan ($87.3 million) will be used to fund the relocation project, Zhao said.
The county is prone to landslides and cave-ins, prompting local authorities to launch the relocation project to avoid casualties, Zhao said.
Local resident Zhao Yuehui is one of the people who will eventually be resettled.
"The government has built a new house for me on the other side of the Yangtze River, but I am not in a hurry to move just yet, as I want to wait until the supporting facilities for my new community are all in place," said Zhao Yuehui.
China National Radio recently reported that a total of 100,000 people may have to be relocated over the next three to five years due to the threat of natural disasters, according to Liu Yuan with the Ministry of Land Resources.