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$98.91 million for disaster relief outside Hong Kong in 2009-10

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) released $98.91 million from the Disaster Relief Fund to provide immediate relief to people in distress outside Hong Kong in the year ending March 31, 2010. In response to appeals made by various governments and international relief organisations, grants were disbursed for the early relief of victims in places outside Hong Kong which were hard-hit by major disasters.

For 2009-10, assistance was given through 19 relief projects operated by six relief organisations to help needy victims affected by calamities that had befallen them. The six relief organisations were The Amity Foundation, The Association of Chinese Evangelical Ministry Limited, Cedar Fund, The Salvation Army, Oxfam Hong Kong and World Vision Hong Kong. The Government also made one grant of $50 million through the Chung Hwa Travel Service to the Taiwanese authorities to undertake relief projects for victims in Taiwan affected by Typhoon Morakot.

Details of the relief projects are as follows:

* In June 2009, four grants totalling $5.3 million were approved for relief of typhoon victims in Bangladesh and India.

* In July 2009, three grants totalling $7.09 million were made for relief of flood victims in Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan and Jiangxi. Separately, a grant of $2.09 million was approved for earthquake victims in Yunnan.

* In August 2009, two grants totalling $55 million were made for relief of typhoon victims in Taiwan.

* In October to November 2009, four grants totalling $10.12 million were approved for relief of typhoon victims in the Philippines and two grants totalling $5.41 million were made for earthquake victims in Indonesia.

* In January to March 2010, a grant of $8 million for earthquake victims in Haiti, a grant of $2 million for earthquake victims in Chile, a grant of $2.5 million for snowstorm victims in Xinjiang and a grant of $1.4 million for drought victims in Guangxi and Yunnan were approved.

Relief organisations receiving grants from the Fund are required to submit evaluation reports and audited accounts to the HKSARG on the use of the grants after the completion of the relief projects.

The Disaster Relief Fund, administered by the Administration Wing under the Chief Secretary for Administration's Office, provides an effective channel for the Government to respond swiftly to international appeals for humanitarian aid for relief of disasters that occur outside Hong Kong.

The Fund is operated from a capital amount of $50 million provided by the HKSARG when it was established. The Government tops up the fund at the beginning of each financial year and applies to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for additional funding as necessary during the financial year, depending on calls for relief and the size of the fund balance and commitments.

The Disaster Relief Fund Advisory Committee is responsible for advising the Government on the policy and practices regarding the disbursement of funds for disaster relief, advising on specific amounts to recipients, and monitoring the use of grants.

The Committee is chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration. Members are Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, Mr V Nee Yeh, Mrs Sophie Leung Lau Yau-fun, Mr Wong Sing-chi, Mr Victor Lo Chung-wing, Mr Irving Koo Yee-yin, Mrs Alice Chong Yuk Tak-fun, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury and the Secretary for Labour and Welfare.

Ends/Friday, June 11, 2010

Issued at HKT 12:00