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Disaster Relief Fund Advisory Committee members arrive in Sichuan for study visit (with photo)

     Members of the Disaster Relief Fund Advisory Committee (DRFAC) paid a visit to Ya'an City, Sichuan Province, today (March 4) to keep abreast of the post-earthquake situation and the progress of the disaster relief work of the Provincial Government of Sichuan with the support of the donation of HK$100 million from the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) in May 2013.

     The DRFAC members, namely Ms Starry Lee, Mr Cheung Kwok-che, Dr Alice Yuk, and Mr Leo Kung, arrived at Chengdu this afternoon and proceeded immediately to Ya'an to learn more about the use of the donation to procure various emergency relief equipment and related items. Officials joining the visit were the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, and the Director of Administration, Ms Kitty Choi.

     The Provincial Government has made use of the donation for the procurement of various emergency relief equipment items under different categories.  The DRFAC members visited several places in Ya¡Šan including the Department of Transport, Fire Brigade, Sanitation Department, Municipal Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to inspect some of the equipment.  These include the microbial identification and drug susceptibility testing system, pathogen testing system and heavy metals rapid detection equipment of the hygiene category; crawler excavators and loaders of the transportation category; multifunctional rescue vehicles of the fire-fighting category; as well as garbage sweeper and sprinkling-cart of the sanitary category of equipment.

     Members also attended a briefing session with the Sichuan authorities.  They were briefed on the use of the donation, including the progress of the procurement exercise for the emergency relief equipment.

     The participating members said the visit had enabled them to gain first-hand information from the Mainland authorities about the disaster relief and rehabilitation programmes taking place in Lushan County of Ya'an in Sichuan Province after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake on April 20, 2013.  The visit had also enhanced their understanding on the use and the impact of the $100 million donation made by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government.  Members learnt that, to enhance supervision and monitoring, the Provincial Government of Sichuan had opened a dedicated bank account for the ledgers of the donations received from Hong Kong and Macau in connection with the Lushan earthquake.  They were also pleased to note that the DRF donation had been put into effective use.  Members noted that the procurement exercise of the emergency relief equipment was closely supervised and conducted in a transparent manner; and the equipment procured had played a vital role in facilitating the emergency relief operation in earthquake-stricken areas. For example, the crawler excavators and loaders which were procured with half of the donation sum and have been in place since last August. The large quantity of equipment procured, their strong rescue capabilities, easy-to-use as well as effective removal of fallen debris and stones have enabled the reconstruction work to be proceeded within a short period of time. Members also noted that the equipment procured continues to help in the relief work.

     The concerned Mainland authorities will provide HKSAR Government with an evaluation report accounting for the use of the donation upon completion of the related relief programmes.

     Members will return to Hong Kong tomorrow (March 5) morning.

Ends/Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Issued at HKT 21:01


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