World Bank and France pledge quake reconstruction funds

By Richard High28 October 2008

Terex Changjiang truck cranes in China

Terex Changjiang truck cranes in China

The World Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD) have agreed to lend US$ 910 million to China for reconstruction of areas devastated by the May 12 earthquake, which killed an estimated 69000 people.

Officials from the two organisations made the announcement at the European Union-Sichuan Investment and Cooperation Conference in Chendu, the capital of south-western Sichuan Province, the area hardest-hit by the 8.0-magnitude quake.

The World Bank will provide an emergency recovery loan of US$ 710 million, while the AFD is to loan US$ 200 million.

About US$ 510 million of the World Bank loan will be allocated to Sichuan for the construction of roads, bridges, water supply pipelines, hospitals and child health care facilities.

About US$ 200 million of the World Bank funds will go to reconstruction efforts in neighboring Gansu province, although this is still subject to final approval in December.

The government estimates that a three-year reconstruction plan will cost US$ 147 billion.

The May 12 Sichuan earthquake was the most devastating quake to hit China in over three decades.

According to the US's Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center, the earthquake occurred on 12 May, 2008, 90 km West-North-West of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China and 1545 km Southwest of Beijing at 2:28 pm local time.

It is estimated that over 69000 people were killed, more than 374000 were injured and about 18500 remain missing, presumed dead in the Chengdu-Lixian-Guangyuan area.

More than 45.5 million people in 10 provinces and regions were affected. At least 15 million people were evacuated from their homes and more than 5 million were left homeless.

An estimated 5.36 million buildings collapsed and more than 21 million buildings were damaged in Sichuan and in parts of Chongqing, Gansu, Hubei, Shaanxi and Yunnan. The total economic loss was estimated at US$ 86 billion.

Beichuan, Dujiangyan, Wuolong and Yingxiu were almost completely destroyed. Landslides and rockfalls damaged or destroyed several mountain roads and railways and buried buildings in the Beichuan-Wenchuan area, cutting off access to the region for several days.

Landslides dammed several rivers, creating 34 barrier lakes, which threatened about 700000 people downstream. At least 2470 dams sustained some damage and more than 53000 km of roads and 47000 km of tap water pipelines were damaged.

Tremors were felt in much of central, eastern and southern China, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Hefei, Nanjing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Wuhan and in Hong Kong, and also in parts of Bangladesh, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Seiches - a standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water - were observed at Kotalipara, Bangladesh.

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