Washington/Beijing, February 12, 2009 – An emergency recovery project to assist the People’s Republic of China in the recovery and reconstruction after the devastating Wenchuan Earthquake was approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. The US$ 710 million loan will finance reconstruction projects in the infrastructure, health and education sectors in Sichuan and Gansu Provinces, the two provinces most severely affected by the earthquake.
The Wenchuan Earthquake Recovery Project will support the Government of China’s National Masterplan for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Wenchuan Earthquake. The project comprises two provincial 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.
“This project will assist many communities affected by the devastating earthquake to rebuild their lives by restoring essential services,” said project manager Mara Warwick, a senior urban environment specialist of the World Bank. “While this project represents only a small part of the Government's overall recovery effort, we are confident that the World Bank's extensive global experience in post-disaster reconstruction, management and prevention that will be shared through the project, will be of benefit to the participating provinces.”
The May 12, 2008 earthquake, which registered magnitude 8.0 on the Richter scale, was the most devastating earthquake to hit China in modern history. The epicenter was in Wenchuan County in Sichuan Province. Official statistics show that there have been more than 69,000 recorded deaths; 374,000 people have been injured; and 18,000 people remain missing. Total direct economic losses have been estimated at RMB 844 billion (US $ 123 billion).