Rebuilding Sichuan — A Partnership of Hope
When one suffers misfortune,
aid comes from all sides.
Devastation on an Enormous Scale
At 2.28pm on 12 May 2008 the devastating Wenchuan Earthquake struck Sichuan Province in southwest China. The massive quake measured 8 on the Richter scale and was felt in Hong Kong and Macao, and as far away as Taiwan, India, Pakistan and Russia.
The tremor caused widespread damage to property in over 400 Mainland counties, 4,600 towns and almost 48,000 villages in Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi, Chonqing and other provinces.
More than 69,000 people died in the disaster and almost 375,000 were injured. More than 46 million people were affected. There was widespread destruction to property and infrastructure with more than 4.5 million households collapsing or being damaged beyond repair.
Beichuan, Wenchuan and Yingxiu counties were almost entirely flattened by the earthquake while the Wolong Nature Reserve, famous for its panda breeding programme, as well as the nearby town were severely damaged.
Rebuilding Lives, Rebuilding Communities, Rebuilding Hope
Immediately after the earthquake struck, a massive rescue operation was launched and the nation rallied to help those in need. Some 150,000 military and security forces across the country were mobilised, rescuing some 700,000 victims. Another 100,000 medical professionals from different parts of the country were also dispatched. The Central Government co-ordinated some 18 provinces/cities to participate in rebuilding shattered communities. Rebuilding Sichuan has been a mammoth task in terms of finance, logistics and medical and welfare support among other areas.
- Reconstruction work to cost about RMB 1,000 billion – priority to rebuilding basic living and public services facilities such as hospitals and schools
- 3.5 million village and 1 million urban residences to be rebuilt
- 18 million square metres of schools and 7 million square metres of medical and health institutions to be rebuilt
- More than 27,000 kilometres of national, provincial and village roads to be rebuilt
HKSAR's Financial Commitment
- HK$350 million injected into the Disaster Relief Fund by the Legislative Council (LegCo) on 14 May 2008 to support emergency relief efforts
- HK$9 billion in reconstruction funding approved by LegCo in 2008 and 2009 in three stages to set up the Trust Fund in Support of Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Areas
- The Hong Kong Jockey Club pledged HK$1 billion
- More than HK$18.8 million donated by the public to help with relief and rebuilding efforts
HKSAR and Sichuan – A Solid Partnership
- Joint effort between Sichuan Provincial Government and its departments working closely with HKSARG and its bureaux and departments. A three-tier co-ordination and liaison mechanism, comprising officials at different levels in the governments of both sides, was set up to guide and monitor reconstruction work as well as to ensure effective collaboration
- Consolidated effort of Hong Kong's construction sector working hand-in-hand with HKSARG. The Hong Kong Construction Sector 5.12 Reconstruction Joint Conference was set up by Development Bureau, professional institutes and trade associations in the construction sector soon after the earthquake to mobilise Hong Kong professionals to volunteer in reconstruction works
- NGOs also closely involved. 16 NGOs were granted funding by the Trust Fund to embark on 32 reconstruction projects in collaboration with their partners in Sichuan
- Regular joint meetings and inspections at Government and project level to ensure steady implementation
Five Funding Areas
The five main funding areas are education and training projects, medical projects, infrastructure projects, Wolong Nature Reserve projects and social welfare projects. By year 2016, 151 Government-led projects and 32 NGO projects had been completed.
Hong Kong Jockey Club commitment
Soon after the Sichuan earthquake struck, the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) provided an emergency donation of HK$30 million to support immediate relief work. The HKJC later pledged HK$1 billion towards a number of post-earthquake projects to help rebuild Sichuan. The projects include:
- Mianyang 3rd City Hospital HKJC Medical Complex
- Mianyang Youxian Zhongxing HKJC Junior Middle School
- Deyang HKJC No.5 Middle School
- Ya’an HKJC Vocational College
- Sichuan HKJC Olympic School
- Sichuan University – Hong Kong Polytechnic University Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction HKJC Building
- Sichuan Provincial 8-1 Rehabilitation Centre
Completion of Post-quake Reconstruction Work in Sichuan
Through concerted effort of the working team in Sichuan and Hong Kong, all the 190 post-quake reconstruction projects have now been completed. Among these projects, the road projects, viz. Provincial Road 303 (Section Yingxiu to Wolong) and Mianmao Highway (Section Hanwang to Qingping), two of the most difficult and challenging projects, were completed in October 2016, marking the overall completion of the HKSAR reconstruction projects in Sichuan. The reconstruction projects have not only helped the victims to rebuild their homes and lives, but also greatly enhance the friendship between the people in Sichuan and Hong Kong.