HUNDREDS of millions of yuan are urgently needed to save relics in the Three Gorges area from being submerged during the construction of the mammoth dam project.
Experts are urging the authorities to increase funding and secure international assistance to save the relics, some of which can be dated back to the Old Stone Age.
They estimated that even to save just one-tenth of these relics would need two billion yuan (HK$1.86 billion). However, the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee under the State Council has a budget of only 300 million yuan for relic preservation.
Over 600 square kilometres of land will be inundated because of the construction of the dam on the Yangtze River.
Experts estimated there are about 1,200 relics sites in the area including the ruins of ape-men in Wushan, the Zhangfei Shrine in Yunyang and the world's first hydrometric station in Peiling.
The financial shortfall was exacerbated when the Sichuan preservation authorities found 85 new underground relics in a survey of the newly built resettlement areas for families displaced because of the project. These had not been included in the Government's preservation list.