Completion of eight-year post-quake reconstruction work in Sichuan
The Wenchuan earthquake eight years ago caused substantial casualties and serious damage in Sichuan Province and its neighbouring areas, resulting in the collapse of buildings, broken and damaged roads and bridges, as well as the suspension of water and power supply. The victims were badly in need of our assistance. Subscribing to the notions of “when one place suffers misfortune, aids come from all sides” and “blood is thicker than water”, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) actively participated in the relief and post-quake reconstruction work under the leadership of the Central Government with the full support of the Sichuan Government. Eight years later, thanks to the concerted efforts of Sichuan and Hong Kong, all the post-quake reconstruction projects have now been completed.
Looking back, many parties were quick to give their all-out support to the relief effort after the earthquake. The HKSAR Government immediately dispatched a search and rescue team comprising firemen and ambulancemen from the Special Rescue Squad of the Fire Services Department, as well as members of the Government Flying Service, to the Sichuan earthquake stricken areas to assist in the rescue and relief effort. Public health teams were also deployed there to provide support. The Hospital Authority also sent medical teams and deployed medical volunteers to help treat those injured after the earthquake. A number of community bodies in Hong Kong also set up voluntary rescue teams on their own initiative to participate in the relief work in the earthquake stricken areas. In a matter of two days, the HKSAR Government obtained approval from the Legislative Council (LegCo) for an injection into the Disaster Relief Fund to enable non-government organisations (NGOs) to procure emergency relief equipment and devices for the earthquake stricken areas and to support their emergency relief and rescue work there.
Significant all-round support
For the post-quake reconstruction work, the HKSAR Government in July 2008, February 2009 and July 2009 obtained from the Finance Committee of LegCo a total of HK$9 billion, which was injected into the Trust Fund in Support of Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Areas (Trust Fund) of the HKSAR to support 183 reconstruction projects. Together with the HK$1 billion donated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) for the support of seven reconstruction projects and public donations, more than HK$10 billion was committed by the HKSAR alone to support the reconstruction work in the Sichuan earthquake stricken areas.
Among the 183 projects under the Trust Fund, 151 were led by the Government, including two highway infrastructure projects, 56 education projects, 35 medical and health projects, 35 social welfare projects and 23 Wolong National Nature Reserve reconstruction projects. To promote active community participation in the reconstruction work, the HKSAR Government, upholding the principle of “Government-led, full community involvement”, used the Trust Fund to support 16 NGOs to take forward 32 projects covering various areas such as education, medical services, physical and psychological rehabilitation, social welfare and public facilities. The seven reconstruction projects led by the HKJC covered areas such as education, medical services and rehabilitation software.
The reconstruction projects have already come into operation and benefit hundreds of thousands of our compatriots. The projects are truly significant in that they have profoundly improved the livelihood of the local people, created quality learning environment for students, and provided proper medical treatment for victims suffering from various post-quake traumas.
Challenges overcome for highway operation
The HKSAR Government’s involvement in the post-quake reconstruction work in Sichuan is unprecedented. Large-scale support work included projects in 12 cities across Sichuan. Some of the projects were technically demanding, the most difficult and challenging of which were the two highway projects, namely the Provincial Road 303 (Yingxiu to Wolong section) and the Mianmao Highway (Hanwang to Qingping section). With the undaunted spirit and concerted efforts of our expert teams and project teams, the two highways were finally completed and commissioned at the end of last month to provide safe and convenient passages to local residents and further enhance the transport network of western Sichuan, which is in turn conducive to the economic and tourism development of the region. At this point, the HKSAR’s post-quake reconstruction support work in Sichuan that lasted over eight years has come to a fruitful conclusion.
For details of the HKSAR’s support for the reconstruction work in the Sichuan earthquake stricken areas, please refer to the Completion Report on HKSAR’s Work in Support of Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Areas uploaded onto the webpage of the Development Bureau (DEVB):
To let Hong Kong people, Mainland compatriots and foreigners better understand our efforts in this regard and to treasure the memorable episodes together, the HKSAR Government has produced a documentary on the theme of Wolong reconstruction. Since late October, the video has been aired through various platforms and channels, including television, social media platforms and the DEVB webpage: http://www.hk4wolong.hk/tc/reconstruction_process/index.html (Chinese only).
27 November, 2016