(CNN) -- China has relaxed its strict birth-control restrictions for families that lost children in a mudslide that killed hundreds in the northwest last year, state media reported Friday.
Women in the Zhouqu area who underwent procedures to prevent further pregnancies such as having their fallopian tubes tied can now have a free reverse operation, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Liang Jianjun, head of Zhouqu's family planning bureau, said women from 27 families have had such operations.
"Some of these women are pregnant now," he is quoted as saying by Xinhua.
China enforces a strict family-planning policy that limits most families in urban areas to only one child, although those in the countryside and certain ethnic areas are allowed more.
In Zhouqu, rural families can have two children, while those in five Tibetan-dominated towns and villages can have three, Xinhua reported.
The easing of government restrictions means families who lost children in the mudslide can now have more to fill the "quotas," a government official told the news service.
The mudslide in August last year left more than 1,700 people dead or missing in Zhouqu County, in northwestern Gansu province, Xinhua said.
Thousands of homes collapsed or were damaged in the disaster, which followed weeks of heavy rains and flooding.
China's three-decade-old population control policy is controversial.
Some critics have urged Beijing to relax it, saying it has skewed China's population and that better-off families have been able to bribe officials into allowing them more children.