Hong Kong-sponsored projects for 2008 Wenchuan quake still unfinished

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 7:39am

Twelve of 151 Hong Kong government-led reconstruction projects initiated in the wake of the Wenchuan earthquake are still unfinished five years on.

Another 28 construction projects funded by Hong Kong taxpayers and managed by non-governmental groups have been completed.

But a HK$4 million secondary school in Mianyang, half funded by the Hong Kong government and half by an education group, was found last year to have been redeveloped into a plaza without the city's consent.

The Mianyang Bauhinia Ethnic Secondary School was razed in May 2011, 17 months after it opened. In response to concerns over the possible misuse of donations, a Hong Kong government spokesman said yesterday that the Sichuan government had returned HK$2 million.

In 2008, the city committed HK$10 billion to support reconstruction in Sichuan - HK$9 billion from the government and HK$1 billion from the Jockey Club and public donations.

Official figures, tabled in the legislature in December, showed that 12 Hong Kong government-led projects were still under construction.

The government had told lawmakers in December that they expected most of the projects to be completed by early this year.

Authorities said the delay was because construction of Provincial Road 303 and Mianmao Highway had been "seriously damaged by frequent geological disasters, such as large mudslides and landslide caused by torrential rains".

Provincial Road 303 links Wolong national nature reserve and northwestern Sichuan.

The two roads are now expected to be completed in 2016.

Simon Wong Kwok-ching, community relations director of the Salvation Army in Hong Kong, said of the 400-plus clinics they commissioned to be built in Sichuan in the wake of the quake, there was a problem with one.

Midway through construction the contractor was found to have been using an insufficient amount of cement.

He said this could have been due to technical problems or an attempt to reduce costs. They immediately told the contractor to tear down the structure and rebuild it. The case, he said, showed that close monitoring was necessary.

The Hong Kong government will seek approval from the legislative council today for HK$100 million for relief and reconstruction work in Yaan.