Macau, China, 19 Jan – The government of Macau said on Sunday that the US$625 million (five billion patacas) it made available to rebuild the Chinese province of Sichuan, devastated by an earthquake in 2008, will be invested in the next three years.
The announcement was made by Chui Sai On, the secretary for Macau Social Affairs and Culture, during a visit to the city of Guangyuan, in Sichuan, aimed at coordinating reconstruction efforts for the area.
The government had previously announced that these funds would be released over five years, though based on guidance from the Chinese government, the period was reduced to speed up the rebuilding process of Sichuan.
Chui Sai On signed six agreements with Sichuan officials to rebuild the mental health centre, the northern vocational school, the recovery centre for the disabled, the retirement home and the secondary schools located in the east and in Baolun, in the Lizhou district.
The Sichuan province has so far presented the government of Macau with 61 projects to support reconstruction of the region, totaling 3.6 billion renminbi (US$527 million).
In regards to support for the tourism sector, the Macau Tourism Office has been organising various marketing and promotional activities together with Sichuan since September of last year.
João Costa Antunes, Macau’s director for tourism, visited Guangyuan and Jiuzhaigou – important tourist locations in the province – with the aim of exploring new tourist projects and provide more support for the recovery of tourism in the province of Sichuan.
Over 68,000 people died in the province of Sichuan as a result of a an earthquake that took place on 21 July, 2008.
Official data from the Chinese government state that 18,000 people are still missing as a result of the earthquake, which left 374 injured and 4.8 million people without homes.