Archive for the ‘Finance, work and business’ Category

December 2012 update: Shi He sports centre

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Shi He village sports centre

In November Sichuan Quake Relief completed the contruction of a new multi-functional sports centre in Shi He village in Guangji, nearby the kindergarten and community centres that we competed two years ago. This new centre has a basketball court, badminton courts, table tennis tables, and adjacent meeting rooms. It can accommodate a whole range of social activities and is used by all sectors of the community.

This project was generously funded by Agilent Technologies.

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Di Kang Le Kindergarten and Community Centre

The Di Kang Le Kindergarten which we reconstructed in 2010 now has 158 children and has recently received local and provincial awards for educational, safety and environmental excellence.

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The adjacent Community Centre which we opened in 2010 is a daily hive of activity with a regular programme of cultural, social, environmental and educational events that serve all segments of the local community.

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The Community Centre manages small-scale grassroots activities to benefit the most disadvantaged people in the area, including a micro-loan project for local disabled people and a scholarship scheme for children from very poor homes. It also coordinates a Volunteer Programme where regular home visits are arranged to the most disadvantaged households in the community. Volunteers help do household chores, arrange medical attention, social welfare support where necessary, and donate food, medicines and hygiene products as required. In special cases, support is found for people in extenuating circumstances who might need an emergency medical procedure. The Centre also runs a regular programme of events aimed at helping to build the capacity of local grassroot organisations.

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Funding request: additional tents for Zhong Da Township in Yushu

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

120,000 RMB needed to purchase tents for earthquake-affected nomadic Tibetans to use while they harvest their primary source of income in remote and inaccessible areas of Yushu County later this month; some of the tents will be used for a health clinic and to provide shelter for monks in an affected monastery in the same region.

Make a donation now, or read on for more details.

Project location

Destroyed buildings in Zhong Da

Destroyed buildings in Zhong Da

The project will serve four earthquake-stricken villages in Zhong Da Township, one monastery, and one health clinic. The villages are Tongboda, Gye Ye, Yengeda, and Chokshida. The monastery and clinic and both located in Chokshida. Zhong Da Township is about 80 km northwest of Jiegu Town in Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai Province, China. Due to the poor quality of roads, it takes about two and a half hours to drive from Jiegu to Zhong Da. From Zhong Da Township to the provincial capital of Xining is about 830 km. The villages in Zhong Da are all within 30 km of the epicenter of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck on April 14, 2010. They are among the most seriously damaged areas, and among the most inaccessible to relief operations.

Population

All population numbers include families who remained in the villages after the earthquake and exclude those who fled to Jiegu. As of May 3, when visits to the villages were conducted, at least half of the residents had left their villages to seek refuge in Jiegu. In Tongboda Village there are currently 25 families. In Gye Ye Village there are currently 11 families. In Yengeda there are 22 families. In Chokshida there are 30 families. At the Bumche monastery there are 185 monks. None of the monks left the monastery after the earthquake, though one was killed. At the Bumche clinic there are between 10 and 50 patients who seek medical attention each day.

Location of Zhongda Township in relation to Jiegu Town and the epicenter

Cash income

The main sources of income in the villages are medicinal caterpillar fungus (cordyceps sinensis, known in Chinese as chongcao; in Tibetan as yartsa gunbu or yatsa gunbu) and proceeds from the nomadic lifestyle, including yak butter, yak meat and mutton, and wool. Many of the items produced from yaks and sheep are used by the families themselves rather than sold. Some families also practice subsistence-level farming of barley to produce tsampa flour. Caterpillar fungus is the most important source of income, but it only grows for one month a year, usually between mid-May and mid-June. In the winter of 2009-2010 there was less snowfall than usual in the mountains. The decrease in snowmelt has most locals anticipating a poorer than average harvest of fungus. Each fungus sells for between 12-15 RMB and on average each household can earn 2000-3000 RMB over the course of the short picking season.

Problems faced by target community

This project will supply additional tents to the villages, Bumche Monastery, and the health clinic in Zhong Da Township. The tents are necessary for shelter during the upcoming caterpillar fungus picking season, so that local families are able to collect a large part of their yearly income, which comes from the sale of the fungus. The tents will also provide additional shelter for permanent residents of the villages and the monastery, as well as a place to dispense medical treatment at the health clinic.

Destroyed buildings in Zhong Da

Destroyed buildings in Zhong Da

Zhong Da Township was among the most affected by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on April 14, 2010 that hit Yushu Prefecture about 30 km northwest of Jiegu Town. The villages in Zhong Da are directly northwest of Jiegu, which means that they felt the full force of the earthquake close to the epicenter. However, these villages are very difficult to access, so supplies and other forms of relief were slow to reach families in the area. The distance from Yushu by car is 80 km (though the road winds around mountains so the distance “as the crow flies” is less), but it takes two and half hours to drive along a poor dirt road that hews along the steep cliffs of the banks of the Yangtze River before turning into the mountains.

Almost one hundred percent of buildings in the four villages and at Bumche Monastery were either destroyed or damaged to the extent that they will eventually have to be demolished. The rebuilding process will be expensive and take many years. All of the residents still in these areas are now living in blue disaster tents provided by the Chinese government. The government provided one tent to each family of between four to ten people. At Bumche Monastery there are only twenty tents for 185 monks, which amounts to more than nine monks per tent.

While living in a tent is not ideal for these families, they are accustomed to hardship and do not complain. With almost the entire population of Jiegu Town and the surrounding area suddenly homeless, tents have become a scarce and valuable commodity. The government is only able to allocate one tent per family.

One tent per family is insufficient because each family will need an additional tent during the caterpillar fungus-picking season, from around mid-May to mid-June. Caterpillar fungus is a lucrative traditional medicine that is sold throughout China. The area around Yushu is one of the best environments for the naturally growing fungus, and for many years the families in Yushu Prefecture have depended on the sale of the fungus for a large part — if not the majority — of their yearly income. Outsiders are not allowed to pick the fungus, and the season is considered so important that local schools have a month-long holiday so that students can return home to help their families. The fungus tends to grow at higher altitudes — usually above 4,000 metres — so the members of the families who are sent to pick the fungus must travel into the mountains and hike large distances to cover new ground every day — often upwards of 20 km.

Destroyed buildings in Zhong Da

Destroyed buildings in Zhong Da

For this reason, almost all families owned Tibetan-style tents prior to the earthquake. These tents were buried and destroyed in the rubble of the houses during the earthquake. As of now, the families will not be able to provide shelter to the members who go to pick caterpillar fungus. Without tents, they will be unable to pick the fungus this year and will therefore lose out on a large part of their yearly income that they desperately need after having lost almost all of their possessions in the quake. What’s more, they have no money with which to purchase a new tent in the foreseeable future, so if they do not have a tent this year, they might not have one next year either, or the year after.

Almost all men, some women, and older children in each family will leave the home to pick fungus, but some stay behind in the village: the elderly, women with children, and others who are needed around the village must stay. So the fungus pickers cannot simply take the single tent that was allocated by the government. For the time being, that tent is their long-term home. They will need another tent specifically for caterpillar season, to replace the tents they already owned for that purpose that were lost in the earthquake.

The Bumche Monastery and health clinic are also in need of tents, for different reasons. The monastery simply does not have enough tents to house 185 monks. The current arrangement in which at least 9 monks live in a 12 square metre tent is not tenable for the long term. The monks will need to live in the tents for at least six months and likely through the next winter before any shelters can be rebuilt. Because of its relatively small size and remote location as compared to larger local monasteries like the Jiegu Monastery, the Bumche Monastery has been largely overlooked in the relief effort so far.

As for the health clinic at Zhong Da, there are currently no tents to house patients (between 10 and 50) that arrive to seek medical attention, for injuries associated with the earthquake and also for regular ailments. The clinic serves all of the villages in Zhong Da Township, and there is nowhere else for these patients to go. As of now, patients are treated on the ground in the open air, beneath a tree. The clinic needs at least two tents in which to treat patients.

Benefits

Provide housing for caterpillar fungus pickers
The tents will allow the members of each family who go to pick caterpillar fungus to have warm, safe shelter to protect them at altitudes of over 4500 metres. Even in the late spring, the nighttime temperature at these altitudes is often below freezing, and rain is common. The mobility of the tents will allow them to travel large distances of 20 km and more each day in search of the fungus.
Increase yearly income
The availability of tents will allow the families to collect extra income of up to 3,000 RMB during the 2010 caterpillar picking season, despite the effects of the April 14 earthquake that will make everything more difficult this summer. This income will allow families to purchase food, clothing, and other necessities, as well as to begin to offset the massive losses suffered in the earthquake. The tent will also be used in future seasons, helping to secure future income.
Avoid cost of new tent in the future
At this point, families have no means or money to buy their own tents. Prior to the earthquake, most families had their own traditional Tibetan-style tents that they had used for years. They will be able to use a disaster tent in lieu of a traditional tent for the next several years or until whenever they can afford to buy another tent. Many families will surely decide to simply use the disaster tent for as long as it is viable, saving them money that they will need to spend on vital necessities. Nomadic Tibetans tend to let nothing go to waste.
Add to the overall availability of shelter
The government provides one tent per family, which is adequate considering the widespread need in the Yushu area. However, having a second tent would help these families to alleviate the cramped conditions and lack of privacy of living in tents. Family members who were previously living in Jiegu Town, where shelter is more abundant, would be able to move back to their villages and help with the reconstruction effort. For the monks at Bumche Monastery, overall shelter will be increased by 50 percent, allowing the number of monks per tent to drop from 9 to 6 or 7.
Provide space for medical treatment
At the health clinic adjacent to the Bumche Monastery, tents will allow for patients to be treated inside the tents instead of outside on the ground. They will be sheltered from the wind, dust, rain, and other elements. The doctors and nurses who work at the clinic will be able to store and safeguard their medicine and instruments more easily. The quality of care at the clinic will be rendered cleaner, more comfortable, and more effective.

Beneficiaries

The project will benefit the 88 families in four villages in Zhong Da Township. Each family has an average of six people, for an estimated total of 528 individuals. The project will also benefit 185 monks at the Bumche monastery and 10 to 50 patients daily at the family-run health clinic adjacent to Bumche monastery. The patients are all residents of Zhong Da Township.

Time frame

This project will take 11 days to complete. But people will still use the tents for living until they are able to rebuild their house again. And they could also use those tents every year when they pick caterpillar fungus.

  1. Six days: order and buy tents from tent factory in Xining.
  2. Two days: transfer the tents from Xining to Jiegu town in Yushu.
  3. Two days: transfer the tents from Jiegu to Zhong Da villages.
  4. One day: distribute tents to each family, monastery, and the clinic.

Project sustainability

This project will help these village people earn their primary annual income from picking the caterpillar fungus. Moreover, the benefit of owning an additional tent will extend well beyond a year. Having lost so much of their wealth and possessions in the earthquake, families will not be in a position to purchase a new tent next year without dipping into money that would otherwise go toward food, clothing, education, and other necessities. The tents will be used in subsequent years for fungus picking and various nomadic activities. When caterpillar season is over, families will continue to use their tents for shelter. It is anticipated that the earliest even provisional buildings will be available is late next autumn. The weather in the Yushu area turns cold early in the autumn, so the tents will help people to keep warm.

Budget

Item Cost
Management fee Zero
Tents (100 tents @ 1,100 RMB each) 110,000 RMB
Transportation from Xining to Jiegu 7000 RMB
Transportation from Jiegu to Zhong Da Township 3000 RMB
Total 120,000 RMB

Make a donation.

Photos and local information courtesy of Tibetan Village Project.

Hanmei grants

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

The first “Hanmei grants” in Sichuan released by Taiwan Red Cross organizations

2009-06-10 source: www.chinanews.com.cn

According to Chengdu Xinhua (Lin Feng Yang) on the 10th June 2009, the Taiwan Red Cross organization established an organization named “Han-mei grants” in the earthquake area.  The first batch of grants were issued to the ‘Liberation of North Road’ Primary School in Chengdu in Jinniu District.

Li Lidong, from the Red Cross Society of China’s Sichuan reconstruction Office, and Chen Dachen and Su Qionghua, from the Taiwan Red Cross Society, as well as important leaders from Si Chuan Red Cross Society, were invited to the issuing ceremony, also attended by more than 1,000 primary school teachers and students.

Funding sought for occupational training for disabled in Dujiangyan

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

A note from Philip Greening-Jackson, who is working in Dujiangyan.

We have a scheme here whereby we are going to provide occupational training to people disabled as a result of the quake. I am going to teach free, as are most of my colleagues.
We have got some equipment promised and a bit of funding but have come up RMB80,000 short. This is because we shall have to construct wheelchair accessible accommodation for these people.  We will be given land and local friends will even organise the construction but we still need that last bit of cash.

We really have come to the end of our own resources now and have to look elsewhere! Please contact us if you can help.

Philip Greening-Jackson

If you can help, please contact info@sichuan-quake-relief.org as soon as possible.

Australian group re-building three business schools in the Sichuan earthquake damage

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Australian group re-building of the three business schools in the Sichuan earthquake damage

A school that was badly damaged in the 2008 WenChuan earthquake re-opened today (4th June 2009) in MianYang in SiChuan Province.  The reconstruction project is supported by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, the Blue Scope Steel Group and the Australian Allens Arthur Robinson attorney affairs office.

ANZ Bank said that the three Australian companies are cooperating with the government of Mianyang city Sichuan Province, to reconstruct the teaching building of the YangJia school in the city which contains six new classrooms for 300 students.

The new teaching building was named an “ANZ Bank Building”.  Designed for resisting earthquakes of up to 8 on the Richter scale, the building ulilizes high-quality, recyclable building materials, including steel made in Australia.

The school buildings are financed by the Australia-New Zealand Bank Group.  BlueScope Steel Group is responsible for the provision of building materials and construction supervision while Allens Arthur Robinson attorney affairs office provides free legal services.  The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group will also fund the school’s desks and chairs, and donate stationery to students.

The Chief Executive Officer of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, ZhaoMing Gao, said that ANZ Bank and China are involved in a long-term cooperative relationship.  The Yang Middle School reconstruction project provides the opportunity to ANZ Bank “to make some permanent changes in” severely dameaged region in the earthquake.

AP: China to open earthquake areas to tourists: report

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

China to open earthquake areas to tourists: report (AP)

CHINESE authorities said today they would open areas devastated by last year’s Sichuan earthquake to tourists as the region struggles to recover from the natural disaster, state media reported.

Nearly 87,000 people were killed or went missing in the May 12 magnitude 8.0 earthquake that left millions homeless and unemployed in China’s mountainous southwest region.

“There is a huge tourism market in the ruins one year after the quake,” Xinhua news agency quoted Wu Mian, deputy director of Sichuan’s tourism bureau, as saying.

“We cannot block the tourists out. We also hope the tourists watch their behaviour and not hurt the feelings of quake survivors.”

Officials hope that increased tourism will help spur rebuilding efforts in the area, it said.

Donation appeal. Qima township: money required for reconstruction, schools, Children’s Day, and basic medicines

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Poverty is inevitably still a huge problem, given the impact of the earthquake on areas which were living at subsistence level.

Information about Qima Township in Qingchuan obtained by SQR in the past few days.

Basic Situation

6 hours drive from Chengdu, 1 hour from Qinchuan County. The road connecting villages and townships can get rather muddy when rains but accessible.

The nearest NGO (World Vision International, which set up its office there before the earthquake) working in Qingchuan is in Qiaozhuang Township, 1 hour drive away from Qima.

There are 8000 residents, many of them are suffering from rheumatism, cholelithiasis, gall-stones, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. The township does have a public clinic but only with limited facilities and meds, so the doctors working there are not able to treat illnesses like these.

According to the figures collected by a local volunteer, there are 600+ patients who cannot afford even ordinary medical services. This group of people consists mostly of elderly people without children or living by themselves while children are working somewhere else.

Progress of reconstruction is uneven. Better-off families have already had their new houses built and have moved in. However, many families just finished the foundation part as to claim the subsidy (the policy is that full subsidy is issued only to families that begin reconstruction before 12th May 2009). Some people, as in Caopo, have been using the subsidy or micro-credit to cover their basic necessities, rather than to reconstruct their houses.

There is one central primary school (1-9 grade), and four village primary schools, with 704 students in total. Grades 1 to 3 include 48 preschool students and 48 students from the village primary schools.

The village primary schools provide classes for one specific group only: for Grade 1 students who live too far away from the central school and cannot afford to live in a school dormitory, and each has around 10-20 students.

Students now have classes in a row of prefabricated houses. More than 400 of them live in villages far from this school. They do not pay tuition fees but do have to buy ‘meal tickets’ that are used to buy meals in the school dining room, the cost of which ranges from 80 to 200 per month, depending on the financial situation of students’ families.

Recent Activities
1. Children’s Day

Various people (contacts of SQR) are going to Qima Primary School on the Children’s Day. The school will have its own activities in the morning, and then the students have their own in the afternoon. One suggestion is for 4-7 people to visit the children to organise activities for them. The thing these people need help with is to buy gifts for the 704 students and to fund the delivery.

2. Jun 28th free-of-charge medical consultation

SQR’s contact, Yang, said he’ll notify the locals to come to the central village that day, and will bring a couple of nurses and doctors there. The consultation takes one or two days. Help is needed getting medicine for this trip.

SQR is waiting for the list, and will make it available to those who are willing to help out.

Xinhua: Beichuan tourism plan approved

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Beichuan tourism plan approved

Sichuan province’s Beichuan county, which was devastated by last May’s earthquake, aims to become an internationally renowned travel destination for its Qiang ethnic minority culture, quake ruins and legacy as Xia Dynasty founder Dayu’s birthplace, the county’s tourism development master plan said.

The plan yesterday passed appraisal by more than 40 experts nationwide and officials from Sichuan.

It called for constructing tourism infrastructure from 2009 to 2011.
Tourism would develop dramatically from 2012 to 2015 until Beichuan became a top-class domestic tourist destination, while it would become an internationally leading site for earthquake ruins from 2016 to 2020, the plan said.

The plan also said Beichuan must develop three or four attractions appealing to overseas visitors. Its project list includes an earthquake museum, an ethnic Qiang street and a plaza showcasing local ethnic minority culture. The plan, which the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences’ tourism research center developed over eight months, will go to the provincial government for approval before post-quake tourism reconstruction begins, said Zhang Jie, an information officer for Mianyang, which administrates Beichuan.

Beichuan was among the counties most devastated by the May 12 earthquake. Of the nearly 70,000 people who died, more than 10,000 were in the county.

Beichuan is the country’s only Qiang autonomous county. It was home to about 90,000 Qiang people prior to the quake, but about 10 percent of them died in the disaster, the county’s publicity department deputy chief Wang Jian said.

The ethnic group is known for living in stone towers resembling fortresses and for worshiping the goat – an animal revered as the god of food and clothing.

Beichuan is best known as the birthplace of Dayu, the legendary founder of the Xia Dynasty (21st century-16th century BC).

20090413: Xinhua: Employment, social support in the aftermath

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Feature: Restless recovery on post-quake Sichuan

www.chinaview.cn 2009-04-12 13:35:26

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/12/content_11172347.htm

By Gong Yidong, China Features

BEIJING, April 12 (Xinhua) — Liu Daihe, 43, lights a cigarette passed by his cousin Liu Daishu and spreads the mahjong tiles over the table. Puffing smoke into the 20-square-meter temporary house, he settles down to idle away another day with friends and relatives.

It is a typical snapshot on the 11,000-household interim community to the north of Mianzhu, one of the most damaged cities of the May 12 earthquake that left more than 80,000 Chinese dead or missing. Liu and the 40,000 inhabitants are enveloped in an atmosphere of both hope and ennui that contrasts with a clearly felt grief eight months ago.

Demands of life
Before the catastrophe, Liu was a phosphorous miner for many years at Qingping town of Mianzhu. But the mine, one of the local pillar industries, was swallowed by the quake along with Liu’s job.
As the breadwinner of the family, Liu looked for jobs elsewhere, but was turned down because of his age. “I’m not competitive on the market. More importantly, I don’t have technical skills, except from doing hard labor in the pit.”
The assistance is also dwindling. Last year, the government handed out 200 yuan per person a month for eight months and 33.5 kilograms of grain per head for three months, but all the financial and material support ended in January, says Liu. “Nowadays, around 15 percent of the people in the community live on what they had before,” his cousin says.
The price of commodities has climbed due to rising transport costs, and Liu and his wife, Chen Mingfang, have to rack their brains to make ends meet.
What worries the couple most is their 14-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter, who are studying at secondary school.
Changying, the daughter, will take the national college entrance examination this summer, meaning a lot of money will be needed if she is enrolled into university. This term alone, she paid 2,000-plus yuan for tuition fees and living expenses.
Her brother, Chenglin, pays 9 yuan a day for three meals in the school canteen as part of a boarder scheme.
Liu’s mother-in-law, who lives under the same roof, is covered by neither a pension nor the rural cooperative medical care. Liu is relieved that the past winter was mild compared with the previous year.

“Otherwise, she might have caught a severe cold,” he says.

In the end, Liu was forced to accept employment in a private mine hundreds of miles away in Yibin, southern Sichuan, where he was paid 80 yuan a day to work from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m..

The pay was satisfactory, but the toil and loneliness in a strange city were intolerable. The man of few words killed time by playing mahjong with his colleagues, and sometimes, small-time gambling.

Unlike many parts of Sichuan where the natural conditions are harsh, Mianzhu has fewer people moving to big cities like Beijing or Guangzhou for job opportunities.

“Before the quake, Mianzhu was blessed with favorable conditions, with no storms or landslides, and most of us preferred to stay in our hometown,” says Liu Daishu.

Adding to their sense of security was the multitude of industries sprawling across the city, such as the national key companies Dongfang Turbine, Lonmon Chemicals and Jiannanchun Distillery, which absorbed a large number of local workers.” We are used to the pace of ease here,” says Daishu.

Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Resources and Social Security of Mianzhu confirm that around 20,000 people are working outside Sichuan Province, accounting less than one tenth the total labor force.

Before the Spring Festival, Liu returned and worked at another small mine in the adjacent city of Shifang, which was set up by one of his fellow villagers.

20090401: Xinhua: Rebuilding of school destroyed in Sichuan quake to start on 1st anniversary

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Rebuilding of school destroyed in Sichuan quake to start on 1st anniversary
www.chinaview.cn 2009-04-01 14:56:36
Special Report: Reconstruction After Earthquake

MIANYANG, Sichuan, April 1 (Xinhua) — The reconstruction of Beichuan Middle School, one of the schools that sustained the most damage in last year’s earthquake in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province, will start May 12, the first anniversary of the earthquake, officials said Wednesday.
The new school, mostly funded by donations from Chinese all over the world, will be built in Beichuan’s new county seat, said Liu Qi, an official with the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese (ACFROC), which was in charge of aiding the rebuilding.
Officials will choose a design from submissions by leading universities including Tsinghua and Tongji as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hong Kong University, he said.
More than 1,300 of the school’s 2,900 students and teachers were killed or left missing in the rubble of the collapsed buildings in the Wenchuan 8.0-magnitude earthquake. Surviving students have attended classes in temporary pre-fab structures since shortly after the disaster.
Overseas Chinese have donated nearly 200 million yuan (29 million U.S. dollars) since August when the donation campaign began, Liu said.
The new school will cover about 13 hectares and is expected to enroll more than 5,000 students.
An ACFROC official arrived in Sichuan Tuesday and will work with the local government on construction, he said.
The reconstruction of Beichuan County, one of the worst-hit areas in the quake, began in February. The new seat is between Yong’an Township and Anchang Township, about 23 km from the former county seat.

20090401: Xinhua: Official, expert explain plans for controversial quake museum

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Official, expert explain plans for controversial quake museum
www.chinaview.cn 2009-04-01 20:17:26

Special Report: Reconstruction After Earthquake

CHENGDU, April 1 (Xinhua) — A public controversy over spending on a proposed earthquake museum in southwest China’s Sichuan Province has prompted officials to come forward and defend the plans.
The 2.3-billion-yuan (338 million-U.S.-dollar) plan reported by local media comprised costs of other projects in addition to the Beichuan County Earthquake Museum, near the epicenter of last year’s May 12 quake, said Lin Jizhong, deputy director of the county’s Culture and Tourism Bureau Wednesday.
The museum itself would only cost 135 million yuan (20 million U.S. dollars), said Lin.
The news of the plan provoked a public outcry on the Internet after local newspapers reported in late March.
Many people contended that a museum was necessary, but as the province was in dire need of money for reconstruction, investing such a huge amount in the museum was unwise.
Wu Changfu, head of the Shanghai-based project planning expert group which outlined the budget, said, “The money was not used solely for construction of the museum building. The environmental protection work and road construction will also be included in the plan.”
“The feasibility report of the museum is being drafted,” Wu said.
Lin said the planned museum was not just an exhibition building, but encompassed the remnants of the old county seat, and traces left by secondary disasters such as mud-rock flows and quake lakes.
The natural scenery of the Tangjiashan quake lake area and culture of the Qiang ethnic minority would also feature in the attraction.
The entire project covered 8 square kilometers, with the Beichuan Middle School at the center, Lin said.
More than 80,000 people were confirmed dead or missing after the quake.
Premier Wen Jiabao suggested when he was in Beichuan after the quake that a museum should be erected.
Lin said construction was scheduled to start later this year in fall went smoothly.
“We hope the museum can bring more revenue to local people,” he said. “The dead are dead, but we hope the living can live better lives.”

20090403: Xinhua: China’s quake-hit Sichuan aims to finish most rebuilding by 2010

Monday, April 6th, 2009

China’s quake-hit Sichuan aims to finish most rebuilding by 2010
www.chinaview.cn 2009-04-03 10:57:58

Special Report: Reconstruction After Earthquake
CHENGDU, April 3 (Xinhua) — Southwest China’s Sichuan Province said it would accelerate post-quake rebuilding in an effort to finish most of the work by September 2010, a year ahead of schedule.
The goal is to complete 85 percent of the reconstruction projects and ensure “housing and employment for each family,” according to a provincial meeting for accelerating reconstruction held Thursday.
The completion targets cover more than 90 percent of transport projects, 98 percent of power grids and 99 percent of public service projects such as medical care.
The meeting said 85 percent of the rebuilding work in worst-hit areas, and all work except for some major projects in less-affected areas, would be completed by September 2010.
Reconstruction of rural housing will be completed at the end of this year, with that in townships and cities to be finished before May 2010.
Students who now attend classes in temporary building are to be back in permanent structures by next spring.
The magnitude-8.0 quake that hit southwest China, centered in Wenchuan, Sichuan, on May 12 last year, killed more than 69,000 people. It also left nearly 18,000 missing, more than 374,000 injured and millions homeless.
The Sichuan government estimated post-quake rebuilding will cost about 1.6 trillion yuan (235 billion U.S. dollars)

20090308: Luo Shui trip by Chengdu Sports Aid and Jerry Snell (Circus Action International/Clowns Sans Frontieres)

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Sunday 8th March 200920090308_LuoShui_SportsandCircus019
Approximately 20 Chengdu Sports Aid volunteers and the Jerry Snell circus took a bus to Luo Shui via PengZhou.  About 50 kids were waiting for the group, and they got involved in sports coaching and activities, including skipping, basketball, badminton, soccer/football, and touch rugby.

There followed a fabulous performance from the Jerry Snell crew.  David Fiset, the bespectacled clown, drew in the whole crowd with sensational stage craft, with suitcase-based antics, threatening to kiss the audience, balancing a mop, a chair and a bicycle on his chin.  Pipat Suwapa was up next, mesmerising the crowd with his glass ball manipulation/juggling and comic moments, and Becky Hoops (Becky Priebe) followed up with dozens of hula hoops on the go simultaneously, massive hula hoops, and acrobatics verging on contortion.  Her tantalisingly frilly pair of bloomers were a big hit with the clown, who joined in the act, jumping in and out of moving hula hoops, standing on Becky’s shoulders and on her front as she held a bridge, all this with hula hoops and juggling going on.  David Bernbaum dazzled with his witty MCing, juggling, hula-hoop handling, magic, and handstands, and after some club-juggling and firestick juggling, the finale combined the talents of all 4 performers, overseen by Jerry Snell himself.

20090308_LuoShui_SportsandCircus010The crowd absolutely loved the show and screamed for more.  The post-finale was the golden moment of the day, as a little girl helped the clown pick up his juggling clubs. As she handed him one, he had no choice but to drop one to make room for the proffered club. The helpful assistant would hand the ‘next’ one to the clown, who again had to make room by dropping another. After about 7 exchanges, the little girl got fed up, picked up a club, and marched it into the performers’ dressing room, with the contrite clown in tow, and the crowd applauding.

The day finished with a penalty shoot-out competition, with the winner presented with a Glasgow Rangers football kit by die-hard fan Andy McAuley.20090308_LuoShui_SportsandCircus004
The day was a great deal of fun, and was a chance for SQR to check out the sports surface they helped fund at the school. The sandy/soily surface is fine for all the sports played on this day, and Chengdu Sports Aid aims to make regular trips to provide sports coaching and activities.
Many thanks to all at the school for welcoming us and to all at SQR for organising the trip, and for EtonHouse for providing the bus.

The performers were in Sichuan as part of Circus Action International, and Clowns Without Borders TRAUMA RELIEF TOUR 2009

PHOTOS: to see all the photos from the day, click here.

Duo Hoops (Becky Priebe and David Fiset) perform at the Spectacle benefice de Clowns Sans Frontieres on 20th Nov 2008

Sign up for Chengdu Sports Aid via Facebook.

20090309: New York Times: Chinese Official Defends Construction of Schools Felled in Quake

Monday, March 9th, 2009

March 9, 2009
Chinese Official Defends Construction of Schools Felled in Quake
By KEITH BRADSHER

HONG KONG — A vice governor of the Chinese province hardest hit by the earthquake last May said Sunday that many schools collapsed then because of the strength of the 7.9 magnitude quake, and not because of shoddy construction.
Wei Hong, one of the eight vice governors of Sichuan Province, also declined to release the number of schoolchildren who were killed, saying that the exact tally still had not been calculated almost 10 months later, news agencies reported from Beijing. Mr. Wei spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress there.
State news media have reported that the quake left more than 80,000 dead and thousands more missing. The most controversial aspect of the quake has been the damage to 14,000 classrooms, half of which collapsed entirely.
Heavy damage to schools, some of which fell down in neighborhoods where other structures remained standing, has prompted accusations from local residents that the schools suffered from what many Chinese have termed “tofu” construction.

Epicentre location as shown in NY Times

Epicentre location as shown in NY Times

Local and provincial officials have responded angrily to criticisms of school construction practices, and particularly to suggestions from some parents that there might have been corruption involved in the construction process for schools. The local authorities have silenced many parents who lost children in the earthquake, through a combination of compensation payments and intimidation.
A mother whose 11-year-old daughter died in the earthquake said by telephone on Sunday that “of course it was tofu construction that led to the collapse of the school.”
The mother, who requested anonymity because of continued government efforts to discourage public discussion of the collapse of the schools, said that she believed that the government must have a tally of schoolchildren who died in the earthquake, since communities in her area were well aware of death tolls at their local schools.
Mr. Wei was promoted to vice governor on June 1, less than three weeks after the quake on May 12, part of a series of shifts in provincial leaders that followed the quake but that may have been scheduled to some extent before the natural disaster.
The Beijing authorities sent their own committee of experts to Sichuan Province after the earthquake to assess construction practices there.
The chairman of the committee, Ma Zongjin, said at a news conference in Beijing last September that because of a rush to build schools during China’s economic boom in recent years, more than 1,000 damaged schools had suffered from at least one of two shortcomings: they were built extremely close to the fault line and were destroyed with other structures near them, or they were poorly built.
But detailed results of that investigation have not been released.

20090303: Xinhua: Macao SAR to finance reconstruction projects

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Macao SAR to finance 10 reconstruction projects
2009-03-03  来源:新华网

On Tuesday 3rd March 2009, Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) signed an agreement with China’s quake-hit Sichuan province, which will see the SAR finance 10 reconstruction projects in Guangyuan city, Sichuan, according to a press release from the SAR government.

The 10 projects include the rebuilding of roads, bridges, river embankment, and sewage treatment works in Guangyuan city, for which the SAR government will allocate 687 million yuan (102 million U.S. dollars), according to the press release.
The agreement was signed in Sichuan’s capital Chengdu by Chui Sai On, the Macao SAR’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, and representatives of the Sichuan Provincial Government.
The 8.0-magnitude quake centered in Sichuan’s Wenchuan County, which took place on May 12 last year, left more than 69,000 people dead, 374,000 injured, 18,000 missing and millions homeless, according to official statistics.
The government of the Macao SAR has already signed a general agreement with the Sichuan provincial government, under which the SAR will finance the reconstruction projects in the quake-stricken province located in south western China. According to the agreement, Macao SAR will spend an amount of 5.5 billion patacas (688 million U.S. dollars) funding the rebuilding projects in some counties of Sichuan.
The Macao SAR government initiated the financing of seven reconstruction projects in Guanyuan last year, and, with the agreement to finance the above 10 projects signed, a total of 17 Macao-financed rebuilding projects in Guangyuan have been launched so far, according to the press release.
After completing the financial arrangements of the 17 projects, the SAR government said it would continue to assess another 19 rebuilding projects mainly of education and sports facilities.

20090304: 6.3 billion RMB shortfall in funds for reconstruction of medical and sanitation facilities

Monday, March 9th, 2009

四川灾区医疗重建资金缺口63亿 工程进度缓慢

来源:四川在线

According to a teleconference of Sichuan medical-sanitation institute on 3rd March 2009, there was a 6.3 billion RMB shortfall in funds for the reconstruction of medical and sanitation facilities. By 27th Feb, only 522 projects had been completed, which accounted for 12.65% of the initial plan. According to Chen Wenhua, vice-governor of Sichuan government, progress in the reconstruction of medical-sanitation facilities has been relatively slow, compared to other public facilities.
“With the current progress, it is rather difficult to complete all these reconstruction projects in only 10 months, and it will get harder and harder,” said Chen.  By 27th February 2009, in the 1252 projects that had already received capital from central or provincial government, only 425 of them were under construction or already finished. 10 counties that were identified as “tremendously affected counties” had no projects ongoing.
So how did the lag happen when sufficient subsidies had already arrived? Chen Wenhua had concluded:
Firstly, some local government have not attached sufficient priorty to medical-sanitation projects. Responsibilities were not well defined. Secondly, other public facility projects were given priority in some counties. Last but not least, the imbalance of capital distributed between different counties has substantially hampered progress on reconstruction, which means the general “sufficient subsidies” was actually not enough for certain projects.
To further explain the last point, Chen emphasized that the lack of progress/funds was partially the result of the high construction standards that some local government prescribed, which were not accounted for when budgets were issued centrally.
Chen pointed out that it is vital to define the responsibilities of each level and department of the government in the face of all the demanding work and the tight schedule – all reconstruction work of medical-sanitation institutions must be in progress by the end of March 2009; reinforcement needs to be completed before July; and by the end of 2009, all the newly built town and township clinics must be in operation.

今(3)日,记者从四川省地震灾区医疗卫生机构恢复重建电视电话会议上获悉,全省医疗卫生机构恢复重建资金总缺口约63亿元,截至2月27日,全省在建及竣工项目522个,占规划的12.65%,与其他公共设施恢复重建进度相比,副省长陈文华称:“全省医疗卫生机构的恢复重建工程进度相对缓慢。”
“如果依照目前进度,要在仅有的10个月时间内,基本完成重建,任务十分繁重,难度越来越大”,陈文华说,截止2月27日,在国定和省定重灾县,已经落实资金的1252个项目中,在建和竣工项目仅有425个,有10个县没有开工项目。
资金已经到位,工程为何滞后?陈文华总结了3个原因:一是部分地方政府重视不够,主体责任不到位,“等、靠、要”的思想依然存在。二是一些地方未按要求优先重建医疗卫生机构,国定重灾县间存在明显的资金不均衡现象,资金不足及资金落实不平衡的问题,已经严重影响恢复重建进度。三是部分项目建设标准有所突破,超出了国家的前期批复内容。

陈文华说:“在目前任务重、时间紧的情况下,有必要再次明确各级各部门应承担的职责。”
3月底前市级、县级医疗卫生机构要开工,年底前基本完成主体工程建设;6月底以前,医疗卫生机构维修加固工作要全部完工;年底前,乡镇卫生院建设项目要全部完工并投入使用。

20090304: Xinhua: Bank of China to lend $44 bln in Sichuan for quake rebuilding

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Bank of China to lend $44 bln in Sichuan for quake rebuilding

2009-03-04  来源:新华网

Bank of China (BOC) signed an agreement here Wednesday with Sichuan Province to provide areas hit by the May 12 quake with at least 300 billion yuan (43.9 billion U.S. dollars) in loans for reconstruction over the next five years.
The Sichuan government has estimated post-quake rebuilding will cost more than 1.6 trillion yuan.
The Beijing-based bank, one of the country’s top four lenders, said it would also offer financing support for small and medium-sized companies in Sichuan.
The 8.0-magnitude quake, centered in Sichuan, left more than 80,000 people dead or missing and millions homeless

20090226: Water purification project in Shengli Village

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

北川擂鼓:新加坡援建饮水项目竣工,第一个村办企业投产
2009-02-26  来源:中国新闻网

26th Feb 2009, a water supply project that funded by Lian’s, a Singapore NGO, was officially implemented. The water-purify system that cost nearly 2 million RMB can reverse-osmose 60 cubic metres of water and ultra-filtrate 180 cubic metres, which is sufficient for 10 thousand Ligu residents’ daily water usage. Water that is processed by reverse osmosis can be drunk directly without boiling.
On the same day, a water-purification factory was put into production in Shengli Village, Leigu, Beichuan County. This factory, like the residents of the village, has received great deal of support from Lian’s, and became the first village-run factory ‘back to work’ in Beichuan’s reconstruction work and the first in Shengli Village’s history.
It is expected that the factory can provide 120 thousand bottles of purified water every day, 7.2 million RMB yearly profit and 20-100 jobs to local people.

二十六日,新加坡连氏援助组织援建四川省绵阳市北川县擂鼓镇地震极重灾区饮水项目正式投入使用。这组造价近二百万元人民币的饮用水净化系统,每天可通过反渗透技术处理六十立方米和超滤一百八十立方米的饮用水,可解决擂鼓镇一万人的饮水问题。
据悉,通过这种反渗透技术处理过的水,可以不用煮沸而直接饮用,解决了灾区临时生活区的饮水难问题。
同日,日产60吨纯净水生产车间的北川县擂鼓镇胜利村纯净水厂投产。该厂在建设中得到了新加坡连援组织的大力协助,是北川县地震后恢复重建的第一个投入生产的村办企业,也结束了胜利村无集体企业的历史。
该厂投产后,日产12万瓶纯净水,一年可获经济收入720万元,同时解决30至100名农民的就业。

20090226: Zhejiang Online: Insurance awareness and education

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

人大代表议保险教育进中学课堂
2009-02-26   来源: 浙江在线新闻网站 (Zhejiang Online)

Wang Ming, a National People’s Congress member, recently revealed that he would file a proposal in the coming NPC and CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) meeting, on enhance high school students’ education on insurance.

“After the quake, many survivors only get support from the governments but not insurance companies for they hadn’t bought any.” said Wang. He deemed that if proper quantities of insurance education are provided, students will grow up with more solid ‘insurance awareness’, which is proscribed in the Insurance Law of People’s Republic of China:“ To gradually put the cultivation of awareness in education system.”

Besides this, Wang Ming suggests to open optional courses on first aid and disaster-relief in universities. “In Japan, even elementary schools have such courses, it is necessary for us to do this as well.”

“汶川地震以后,因为没买保险,大多数受灾群众只得到了政府的救助,却没有得到保险公司的赔偿。”一场空前的灾难,深深触动了全国人大代表、杭州市第一人民医院肾内科主任王鸣。

王鸣今天告诉本网记者,他要在即将召开的全国两会上提出建议,在中学课堂特别是高中课堂里,增加保险教育的内容。

为了完善这份建议,王鸣特地找来了《中华人民共和国保险法》学习。他发现,在这部保险法里,已经提出,要逐步把保险意识的培养,放到教育系统中,提高学生的保险意识。

除了在中学课堂上增加保险教育内容外,王鸣还建议在高校里,专门开设选修课,教学生救灾和急救尝试。“日本的小学里都有这样的课,我们也有必要这样做。”

20090225: Training vouchers for migrant workers

Friday, February 27th, 2009

参与灾后重建的建筑农民工 也可领培训券了

25. 来源:成都商报-四川新闻网

In a recent meeting Chengdu Employment Bureau announced that migrant workers who had engaged in reconstructive business had become part of the population who was entitled to apply the Employment Training Voucher. According to the chief of the bureau, Wang Weihua, the ticket one can apply before the deadline 30th April values 500 Yuan and can be used any time before 31st Dec, 2009.
221 training agencies in Chengdu were assigned to cooperate with this training program. Courses provide include housekeeping, computer technology, cook, electrician and so forth. “Most people would find something fits their need.”

成都市就业局召开新闻通气会公布就业培训券发放范围扩大至参加灾后重建的建筑农民工。
市就业局副局长王卫华介绍,申请时间至2009年4月30日,培训券的额度每人500元,2009年12月31日前有效。在有效期内,劳动者可持券选择全市221家定点培训机构的任何一家接受培训,培训项目涉及家政、计算机、厨师、电工等,“绝大多数人都可选到比较适合的专业”。