CHINA> Regional
World Bank to help rebuild Sichuan
By Wang Xu (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-02-14 08:10

The World Bank has approved loans of $510 million to Sichuan and $200 million to Gansu for earthquake reconstruction projects.

The funds will be used to support China's master plan for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of regions devastated by the Wenchuan earthquake on May 12 last year, the bank said in a statement on Friday.

The World Bank funds will primarily be used to rebuild infrastructure - roads, bridges, water supply and sewerage systems - and health facilities in the two provinces, and to redevelop Gansu's education facilities.

Mara Warwick, a senior urban environment specialist with the World Bank and project manager for the scheme, said: "The project will assist many communities affected by the devastating earthquake to rebuild their lives by restoring essential services.

"While it represents only a small part of the government's overall recovery effort, we are confident the World Bank's extensive global experience in post-disaster reconstruction, management and prevention that will be shared through the project, will benefit the participating provinces."

The earthquake, which measured 8 on the Richter scale, was the most devastating in China's modern history.

More than 69,000 people were killed, 374,000 were injured and 18,000 are still missing. The total economic loss has been estimated at 844 billion yuan ($123 billion).

Liu Qibao, Sichuan's Party chief, said earlier that the reconstruction of Sichuan alone could cost 1.7 trillion yuan.

Just 400 billion yuan has so far been raised, he said.