World Bank, France to lend China $900 mn for quake relief

October 26th, 2008 - 5:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Chengdu (China), Oct 26 (Xinhua) The World Bank (WB) and the French development agency AFD will lend China more than $900 million for reconstruction of the southwestern province of Sichuan devastated in a massive earthquake May 12. The announcement was made Sunday by the two lending agencies during the ongoing European Union-Sichuan cooperation conference in this provincial capital city, which was hardest-hit by the 8.0-magnitude quake.

The earthquake killed some 70,000 people, devastated an area spread over 40,000 sq km and affected nearly 42 million people.

The WB planned to provide an emergency loan of $710 million for Sichuan and neighbouring Ganshu province, which was also extensively hit by the quake, said Ede Ljjasz, WB’s sustainable development manager in charge of the China and Mongolia.

The loans, expected to be cleared by the bank in December, will go into the reconstruction of roads, bridges, water supply pipelines, hospitals and child health care facilities.

AFD will lend China $200 million which will be used to help in construction of urban infrastructure and rural houses, said Martha Stein-Sochas, the Asian affairs division head of the agency.

China estimated the total cost for its three-year reconstruction plan at $147 billion.

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