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More orphanages urged after fatal blaze

More orphanages urged after fatal blaze

Tan Yanhong, a deputy to the Guangdong provincial people's congress, said more government funds should be used to build orphanages.

Her appeal comes after a fatal blaze at an unlicensed private orphanage in Lankao county, Henan province, on Jan 4.

"Insufficient investment from government is to blame for such tragedies," Tan said.

After the fire, the civil affairs department in Guangdong ordered checks on all orphanages.

However, ahead of the checks, it was found that civil affairs officials in Jieyang, Guangdong, attempted to "borrow" abandoned children from a temple, telling their superiors they had a social welfare home for orphans, as required by the authorities. No such facility existed.

A district civil affairs director was dismissed, while authorities in Jieyang apologized and vowed to inject 3 million yuan ($482,400) into caring for orphans, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Tan said he traveled to cities in Guangdong and found a large number of orphans are still not covered by social welfare.

"As a deputy to the provincial people's congress, I have to call for more care from society and authorities for orphans," she said.

According to Guangdong's budget report, about 209 million yuan will be allocated for welfare subsidies for orphans this year.

"The investment is far from enough, given that the province has a growing number of homeless children," Tan said, adding that Guangdong has some 49,000 registered orphans, with only about 8,000 living in State-funded homes.

Citing the Jieyang case, Tan said some orphans in underdeveloped counties are not receiving welfare subsidies due to insufficient funding.

"Some county governments can't afford the investment because of limited revenue," Tan said. "As a result, a large number of orphans have to stay in private homes and temples."

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