The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, today (December 22) attended a ceremony cum briefing session announcing the first-phase funding grants from The Trust Fund in Support of Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Areas, and presented offer letters to the successful Hong Kong non-governmental organisations. He appealed to Hong Kong people for their continued support for reconstruction of the Sichuan earthquake-stricken areas.
Mr Tang said, "Hong Kong people's all out caring and enthusiasm for reconstruction support work to assist the earthquake victims in Sichuan had never subsided, and we are all ready to give our continued support for the cause with a view to providing them with the necessary services and support, and better conditions and environment for restoring their normal lives."
The Government obtained approval from the Legislative Council to create a commitment of HK$2 billion to establish the Sichuan Reconstruction Trust Fund in July, and signed a cooperation arrangement with the People's Government of Sichuan Province in Chengdu in October, which sets out the agreement reached on the basic principles, project and fund management, and the 20 first reconstruction projects undertaken by the Government. The latter cover projects on infrastructural facilities, medical services, education and social welfare services.
"Following the 'Government-led, full community involvement' approach and with a view to consolidating the impetus from all sectors of the community, the Fund has been inviting applications from the NGOs of Hong Kong since mid-October for proposals to assist in the reconstruction work in Sichuan," Mr Tang said.
As at end November, the Trust Fund have received over 40 applications. After careful examination by the relevant working groups comprising non-government members and representatives from concerned government bureaux/departments, and on the recommendation of the "Steering Committee on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's Support for Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Areas", the Trust Fund has approved 12 applications in the first phase.
The first phase granted projects cover both hardware and Hong Kong NGOs' well-versed software components in the areas of education, medical services, physical and psychological rehabilitation, and training schemes etc. The total amount of grant is about $87 million (please see the annex for details).
Mr Tang extended his special thanks to the participating Hong Kong NGOs for their support for reconstruction work in Sichuan and said, "I believe that with their passion, expertise and past experience in the Mainland, they are the best ambassadors to convey Hong Kong people's love and caring to our Sichuan friends, and to bring them the hope of a better future in a concrete way," Mr Tang said.
Mr Tang said, "we have also preliminarily perused the other applications, a number of which are able to tie in with the overall planning of the reconstruction in Sichuan. Subject to availability of resources and the completion of required procedures, we are keen to approve more projects in the coming future to allow the NGOs to contribute their expertise to the reconstruction drive."
Mr Tang appealed to all Hong Kong residents to give their continued support for reconstruction work and caring for the Sichuan compatriots by donating to the Trust Fund, which undoubtedly was the best festive seasons blessing for them.
Donations may be made by cheque addressed to "SHAI – Donations for Sichuan Reconstruction" and delivered to any of the 20 Public Enquiry Service Centres of the District Offices or Post Offices. Donations may also be made to the following "SHAI – Donations for Sichuan Reconstruction" accounts:
* Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. account number "004-808-424154-001"; or
* Bank of China (Hong Kong) account number "012-875-0-039990-0"
Ends/Monday, December 22, 2008
Issued at HKT 20:35