China helps 12 mn quake-hit people with $137 bn expenditure

February 24th, 2012 - 7:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Shaan Beijing, Feb 24 (IANS) China spent 866 billion yuan (about $137 billion) over reconstruction work in its quake-hit Sichuan province, helping over 12 million people in repairing houses and rehabilitating 200,000 farmers, an official said Friday.

The devastating 2008 earthquake had hit Sichuan and the neighbouring Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. It killed about 70,000 people and left over 18,000 missing in Sichuan alone apart from collapsing millions of houses.

Basic living standards in the worst-hit Sichuan province, however, improved following completion of the reconstruction work, Xinhua quoted a provincial official as saying Friday.

According to Wei Hong, Sichuan province’s vice governor and director of the provincial post-quake reconstruction committee office, basic living standards in the province have been largely improved and surpassed the level before the quake.

As per official statistics, in 2011 the total output value in the six hardest-hit cities and prefectures was almost double that of the pre-quake period, with urban per capita disposable income rising by 1.7 times and farmers’ net income by 1.75 times.

Moreover, Sichuan has doubled its economy from 2007 to 2011 and its total amount hit 2 trillion yuan in 2011.

The province also imported 173 of the world’s top 500 enterprises, attracting foreign investment of $11 billion and the total volume of imports and exports grew by about 55 percent in 2011.

Wei said 99.5 percent of the budget — about 866 billion yuan (about $137 billion) — has been invested in post-quake reconstruction, with 99 percent of 29,692 projects being over.

“The unfinished projects are those affected by after-shocks and secondary disasters, which need long-term construction and huge quantities of work,” he added. “We are making efforts to promote the left projects.”

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