Victory achieved in rebuilding Sichuan quake zone

News and Press Release
Originally published
View original Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Chinese government official on Tuesday said victory has been achieved in the rebuilding of areas worst hit by a devastating earthquake three years ago in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Mu Hong, Vice Director of the country's National Development and Reform Commission, said 95 percent of the post-quake reconstruction projects have been completed so far.

Mu made the remarks during a press conference that detailed the reconstruction of the Sichuan quake zones three years after an 8.0-magnitude quake struck.

The devastating quake centered in Wenchuan County in southwestern Sichuan on May 12, 2008 left 87,000 people dead or missing and millions homeless.

The quake also impacted the neighboring Shaanxi and Gansu provinces in northwest China, where after three years of reconstruction, new schools and hospitals have been built and living conditions improved.

China's State Council, the Cabinet, in September 2008 made a general plan to rebuild the 51 quake-struck county-level regions in these three provinces. The size of the reconstruction areas totaled nearly 130,000 square kilometers.

Wei Hong, executive vice governor of Sichuan Province, where the quake caused the most destruction, said at the press conference that the province has completed 94 percent of the rebuilding, in which nearly 3,000 new schools and more than 1,000 hospitals have been built or reconstructed.

The reconstruction investment in Sichuan so far has reached 796.5 billion yuan. The fund has also helped renovate and reinforced 3.55 million rural and urban homes in just one year after the quake. In two years, reconstruction of 1.5 million rural homes and 250,000 homes in cities were finished.

In Gansu, reconstruction investment totalling 25.5 billion yuan has helped rebuild and renovate nearly 700,000 rural homes, and reconstructed road have greatly improved rural transportation.

In addition, all damaged temples have been reinforced or reconstructed in the province, said Zebazo, the provincial vice governor.

In Shaanxi, four severely-affected counties, including Ningqiang and Lueyang, have completed more than 95 percent of the rebuilding. Mu pointed out that not only have living conditions improved through the reconstruction process, but the economy has rebounded strongly.

"The local economic growth has recovered, or even outperformed the level before the quake," Mu said.

Shaanxi Vice Governor Jiang Zelin said the province's Hanzhong and Baoji cities, which were affected heavily by the quake, is now more prosperous as rural residents' annual disposable income was 1.8 times the amount before the disaster, while those of urban residents was 1.7 times the level.

Gross domestic product of the two cities last year hit 148.58 billion yuan, 1.7 times the amount before the May 12 quake in 2008. Reconstruction in Shaanxi has helped create 260,000 jobs over the past three years, Jiang added.

Furthermore, GDP growth in the 39 quake-struck counties in Sichuan was 1 percentage point higher than the provincial level. Per capita income growth for urban residents was 3.4 percentage points higher than the provincial level and that for rural residents was 4.4 percentage points higher than the provincial level.

Wei said the Sichuan provincial government would further allocate 3 billion yuan in the next three to five years to help over 1,200 villages eliminate poverty in the quake zones.

According to the country's general reconstruction plan, the rebuilding in the quake zones is expected to be fully completed by the end of September, Mu said.

At the press conference, Mu also extended his gratitude to Japan and other countries and international organizations for their assistance after the quake.

Editor: Pliny Han Source: Xinhua