Saturday, August 23, 2008

Int'l donation goes to Sichuan quake recovery

The international community has donated through the United Unions to China's early recovery efforts in the areas affected by May 12th's devastating earthquake.

Mr. Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordinator in China, declared in Beijing today on August 22 that 15 million USD in donations had been offered by the governments and private sectors of the international community since the UN launched its appeal for early earthquake recovery support on July 16. The initiative is expected to raise 33.5 million USD and spend it by the end of the year.

The 11 million USD comes from the governments of Canada , Norway , Saudi Arabia and Belgium , and the European Union . The UN has allocated another 4 million USD from its own resources and private donors.

Donors can specify the use of their contributions in any of eight priority fields including livelihood, healthcare, ethnic minorities, and protection of vulnerable groups. Reports about the use of the fund will be prepared and made public.

UN organizations will work closely with Chinese ministers to identify and implement projects financed with the money. Those projects will also bring the best international practices to China's reconstruction.

The EU and several countries have expressed interest in working with the UN to continue their support on the longer term reconstruction efforts.

Visiting Belgian Foreign Minster Karel De Gucht said at a press conference today in Beijing that Belgium would have its 500,000 euros in commitments in place "immediately." The money will be part of the cooperation between the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and China's Ministry of Agriculture to provide the necessary tools and fertilizer to affected local farming communities in Sichuan, where FAO has worked together with Chinese authorities for nearly 30 years.

The FAO projects as a whole, under the livelihoods categories, will benefit some 8,000 farming households, or about 30,000 people.

Belgium offered 680,000 euros worth of immediate aid to China right after the earthquake rocked Sichuan in southwest China.

The UN system in China has already delivered more than 18 million USD in emergency relief to the affected population in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces.

By People's Daily Online

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