Hong Kong will honour its commitment to spend HK$10 billion to help Sichuan earthquake victims rebuild their homes, despite the looming financial meltdown, the administration says. Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen yesterday urged people to continue supporting the pledge. 'We promised to lend our support at the outset. The victims will not go wanting because of the arrival of the financial tsunami. They are still there and their condition is worse. There is still a need for reconstruction,' said Mr Tang, who chairs an interdepartmental taskforce co-ordinating the rebuilding. 'Whether it's for children, adults or anything else [in Sichuan], support is still needed, and needs to continue,' Mr Tang said. 'I, of course, appreciate people's worries about the financial tsunami and [its impact on] the global economy. But I still think we have to act according to our ability, and do it wholeheartedly.' Hong Kong and Sichuan signed a co-operation arrangement on Saturday on reconstruction work in the quake-stricken areas. A total of 20 reconstruction projects, costing about HK$1.9 billion, have been identified for the first stage. These include projects for infrastructure, medical services, education and social welfare services. The pact came a week after the Sunday Morning Post reported that former US president Jimmy Carter had written to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, urging him to speed up reconstruction work. Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who is visiting Sichuan, said the administration would seek Legislative Council approval to spend a further 1.5 billion yuan (HK$1.7 billion) in a further batch of 25 reconstruction projects. Mrs Lam said she was confident the legislature would approve the funding request, given Hongkongers' care about their fellow countrymen in Sichuan. She has told Sichuan authorities she wants Hong Kong lawmakers to visit quake-hit areas again, to see for themselves why the money was needed, she said. The earthquake, measuring 8 on the Richter scale, stuck Sichuan's Wenchuan county on May 12. It killed more than 80,000, and was the deadliest and strongest quake to hit China since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake. In July, the Hong Kong legislature approved the injection of HK$2 billion into a new trust fund to support the reconstruction. The government says it will seek more donations - including from the public - until the fund reaches HK$10 billion. With a recession looming, there have been calls that Hong Kong should be more careful about spending its public funds. The city's deficit for the first five months of the current financial year was HK$36.2 billion, according to government figures. But the government said the deficit was mainly because some major revenue items, including salaries and profits taxes, were received mostly towards the end of a financial year.