China is subject to regular natural disasters arising from both hydro- meteorological and seismic hazards. From 1998 to 2008, 533 natural disasters occurred causing the death of some 147,204 people and a cumulative economic loss estimated at more than US$ 230 million. Although the Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) (2006) does not explicitly feature disaster risk management, the World Bank is currently engaged on different fronts, trying to systematically support the Government in addressing the multiple risks China regularly faces.
For more information on the government’s DRM programs, visit the China National Committee for International Disaster Reduction Website.
In the wake of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake -which caused more than 68,000 deaths, leaving 4.8 million people homeless –technical assistance on recovery planning was provided in the form of a held one month after the earthquake on international best practice on post-disaster recovery planning.
In addition, the World Bank supported China to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake with a $1.5 million grant through the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). This grant has helped to provide emergency tents and will provide technical assistance for the reconstruction effort. The World Bank has recently also provided a Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant of US$1 million to support assessment of chemical contamination in the earthquake.
On February 12, 2009, the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved an emergency recovery loan of US$ 710 million loan to assist the People's Republic of China in the recovery and reconstruction after the devastating Wenchuan Earthquake.The objective of the project is to restore essential infrastructure, health and education services to at least levels existing prior to the Wenchuan Earthquake, and where appropriate, to provide for expansion of services, while reducing the vulnerability to seismic and flood hazards and building capacity of local governments to manage the recovery program. The project comprises two provincial parts, one each for Sichuan (US$ 510 million) and Gansu (US$ 200 million). Click here for more project information.
In July 2008 at the Chinese Government's request, the Bank prepared seventeen sector-specific knowledge notes in Chinese and English, designed to provide input to key sections of the government's reconstruction plan.