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14:08 Sep 28 2011

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Investigations find five national heritage sites damaged in Yushu earthquake
09:20, May 28, 2010  

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) said Thursday that five heritage sites under state protection and 23 provincial sites in northwestern Qinghai Province and neighboring Sichuan Province had been damaged in the major earthquake in April.

The SACH investigated an area of 300,000 square km covering seven counties in Qinghai and Sichuan, affected by the 7.1-magnitude quake on April 14 which killed about 2,200 people, said a statement issued by the administration.

The Mani stone piles complex at Xinzhai Village, near the quake's epicenter Jiegu Township, had major damages, the statement said.

In the complex, a pagoda was badly damaged. The wall of a main prayer hall was cracked and several sections of Mani stone piles had collapsed, the statement said.

Mani stone piles are rocks and pebbles inscribed with Buddhist mantras and arranged in piles.

Xinzhai's Mani stone piles, under the state protection, were first built in 1715. The area consists of 14 pagodas, two prayer halls, 490 prayer wheels and a Mani stone pile.

In the Beidari Buddhist temple built in 642, another national heritage site, the stone cliff behind its main hall has begun to crack, threatening the structure, the statement said.

In the Sangzhou and Zangniang Pagoda temple built in 1030, the pagoda and the walls of temple halls were cracked and the buildings' foundations had sank, the statement said.

In addition, sections of buildings in three major Tibetan Buddhist temples in Yushu, under the provincial protection, had collapsed. The prefecture museum of Yushu was also badly damaged.

However, a very valuable collection of Buddhist sutra manuscripts with a history of more than 1,000 years survived the earthquake and remained intact, the statement said.

The manuscripts had been buried under the rubble after the store house collapsed in the quake but they were later found by rescuers.

The SACH set up a team to investigate and save the damaged heritage sites four days after the quake.

The local government has set up temporary protection facilities around damaged heritage sites and tightened the security, the SACH statement said.

The SACH has allocated 800,000 yuan (116,000 U.S. dollars) and applied to the Ministry of Finance for another special fund to repair the national heritage sites, the statement said.

The SACH also worked out a three-year restoration plan, which includes repairing damaged heritage sites and antiques and rebuilding museums.

Source: Xinhua


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