WB approves US$ 710 million for Chinese quake recovery

By Richard High17 February 2009

Terex Changjiang truck cranes in China

Terex Changjiang truck cranes in China

The World Bank has approved a US$ 710 million loan to China to help rebuild provinces hit by a huge earthquake on 12 May last year.

The Wenchuan Earthquake Recovery Project will support China's National Masterplan for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Wenchuan Earthquake. The project comprises two parts, one each for Sichuan (US$ 510 million) and Gansu (US$ 200 million).

The focus is on the reconstruction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water supply, wastewater and solid waste, and health facilities in selected counties in both provinces, and, in the case of Gansu, also on the reconstruction of education facilities.

The earthquake, which registered magnitude 8 on the Richter scale, was the most devastating earthquake to hit China in modern history. The epicentre was in Wenchuan County in Sichuan Province.

Official statistics show more than 69000 recorded deaths; 374000 people injured; and 18000 people still missing.

Announcing the loan, project manager Mara Warwick said in the statement, "This project will assist many communities affected by the devastating earthquake to rebuild their lives by restoring essential services."

Last year, China allocated CNY 70 billion (US$ 10 billion) to a reconstruction fund for the earthquake.

The Sichuan provincial government estimated post-quake rebuilding would cost about CNY 1.6 trillion (US$ 234 billion).

It is estimated the disaster cost China CNY 844 billion (US$ 123 billion) in direct economic losses.

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