Wenchuan Hospital was blasted into pieces at 6.30pm yesterday after construction officials confirmed the building was too dangerous to remain standing. More demolitions of high-rise buildings in Wenchuan town, the county seat, are expected to take place in the days to come, but the demolition by no means signals the start of the town's rebuilding. In fact, no rebuilding has been discussed as county officials are trying to persuade prefectural and provincial governments to allow the county seat to relocate to a safer place. The ideal place for now is the area about 18km north of Dujiangyan , a tourism centre only 40km from the Sichuan capital Chengdu , Xiang Shimao, deputy director of Wenchuan disaster relief headquarters, said yesterday. 'There are definitely flat areas near Dujiangyan we can use to relocate our people,' he said. Mr Xiang's comments came just two days after Deputy Governor Tian Xiaodan of Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture told the media that Wenchuan town would be rebuilt in the same place because there were no flat areas available in the prefecture. Wenchuan town, once home to 40,000 people, saw only 12 fatalities from the quake on May 12, even though it is only about 30km from the epicentre Yingxiu. Construction experts later determined that 90 per cent of the town's buildings needed to be rebuilt even though many of them appeared fine from the outside. Mr Xiang said the county's decision to consider relocating rather than rebuilding was a direct result of geological analysis after the quake. 'Experts told us this town should not see large-scale construction [for] three to eight years after the quake, since no one is sure how long aftershocks would continue,' Mr Xiang said, adding that experts proposed that 5,000 to 8,000 people could live in the town during that period, and any number larger than that would be considered dangerous. 'It's not like county governments are against prefecture officials, but we have to respect scientific analysis and people's security,' Mr Xiang said. Many people left the town shortly after the quake. About 9,000 aftershocks have been reported in Wenchuan town, including two yesterday afternoon that knocked down ceilings of the county government building, while Mr Xiang was being interviewed at the front door. Luo Zixiu, 60, said she and her daughter were among the few who did not leave as they had to take care of their clothing store. 'All the people I know of in this town left when the road reopened. Only those who don't have relatives outside or are too old chose to stay,' Ms Luo said. The other people in the town were refugees from surrounding mountain villages, she said. Her daughter Zhang Yan had too large a stock of clothing to leave the town. 'The factory refused to refund the order, so I have to stay and try to sell as much as I can,' Ms Zhang said. Her store is on the first floor of a building certified as dangerous, but no one has yet stopped her doing business. Supplies of underwear, socks and shoes sold out in the first few hours of her reopening the store on May 15, as many survivors who had left everything behind sought essentials. 'Women's underwear was all gone in the first hour, and many ladies have to buy men's underwear to get through this hard time,' Ms Zhang said. She and her mother were enjoying a big bowl of cherries while waiting for customers, a fruit they said they rarely had a chance to enjoy. 'It was 40 yuan for half a kilogram before, but it's now just for 2 yuan because no trucks are available to carry them out,' Ms Zhang said. But the low price was a burden for Deng Yonghua, 30, who has about 50 cherry trees. 'Most of my cherries were wasted this year, but there is nothing I can do,' Ms Deng said. Trucks usually carry cherries to Chengdu through Yingxiu, but much of the route was blocked by landslides. Ms Deng either gave the harvest to People's Liberation Army soldiers passing by for nothing or priced it at 2 to 4 yuan (HK$2.25-$5) per half-kilogram to passing vehicles. 'Even at this price, we are still offering 'buy one, get one free' as we don't want to see our cherries being wasted,' Ms Deng said. County official Mr Xiang said the government understood the situation but had to impose strict traffic controls to make room for emergency and rescue supplies. 'The government will buy some vegetables and fruits, giving them to rescuers and service persons. For the rest of their stocks, we just cannot help. This is a tough year, and I guess everyone has something to give up,' Mr Xiang said.