China allots $14 bn for relief in quake hit areas

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Old 22-May-2008
China allots $14 bn for relief in quake hit areas

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday announced that the central government will spend 70 billion Yuan ($10.14 billion) this year for setting up a reconstruction fund for the quake-hit regions. An additional 25 billion Yuan ($3.57 billion) has been allocated for rescue and relief efforts in regions devastated by May 12 earthquake.

The State Council, which is the Chinese cabinet, also decided to impose a five per cent cut in central government spending to meet the additional financial burden caused by the havoc. The reduction in government spending will also help counter possible increase in inflation that could be caused by fresh investment on reconstruction efforts, sources said.

The last 36 hours till this evening saw 77 people being dug out of debris. A total of 6,452 survivors have been pulled out from the rubble since the rescue task started. The official figure for death rose by 1,278 to reach 41,353, the State Council Information office said. There were 59,394 injured people in hospitals and another 220,000 injured are being treated out of the hospitals.

The government said as many as 21 lakes and reservoirs were under the risk of bursting due to overflowing of nearby rivers, which have been partially blocked by landslides.

Gao Jianguo, a researcher with the China Earthquake Administration's Institute of Geology, has stressed the need to closely monitor the water flows in the new lakes that have been caused by overflowing rivers. Any bursting of these lakes could result in downstream villages being flooded, he said.

Wen also promised to arrange for reconstruction funds over the next two years.

Moreover, the ministry of finance has allotted 2.5 billion Yuan ($357 million) as temporary allowances to support quake victims. The money would go to Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi and Yunnan provinces and Chongqing Municipality.

Quake affected people who have lost their homes or means of incomes would receive a 10-yuan allowance on a daily basis for three months. Orphans, elders who had lost their family and handicapped victims would have a monthly allowance of 600 Yuan.

The State Administration of Taxation said Tuesday that tax payers in quake-hit localities could postpone their declarations. The China Banking Regulatory Commission ordered financial institutions to provide support, including extension of loan maturities, for relief and reconstruction in quake-ravaged regions.

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