On 12 May 2008, an earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale hit the provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi, leaving 69,000 people dead, 18,000 missing and some 380,000 injured. The earthquake, which came with several strong aftershocks, left several million people homeless, destroyed or damaged 5 million homes and caused a direct economic loss of some CNY 1,000bn (EUR 115bn).
The program supported by AFD was geographically focused on the cities of Chengdu (Bailu Village and Dayi District) and Deyang (districts of Jingyang, Guanghan, Zhongjiang and Luojiang). It has covered two key sectors:
- Infrastructure, with USD 150m to rehabilitate water and sanitation networks, waste treatment plants and roads;
- USD 50m of financing for the biogas sector, covering the entire Sichuan Province, for the construction of 100,000 biodigesters, developed with support from a French NGO.
AFD has also supported this project with technical assistance for the reconstruction of sustainable rural homes and the adaptation of public policies for the construction of these homes. It has financed the creation of an “Educational Guide for the Construction of Rural Homes”, which focuses on anti-earthquake standards and energy efficiency. It was produced in partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) and Sichuan Construction Commission.
The design of this publication, the first of its kind in China, was entrusted to a team of Franco-Chinese experts, including the French architecture firm AP3. In view of the importance of the subject of rural homes in the country, this guide has been widely distributed nationwide – over 100,000 copies – and training has been organized on it for 1,000 local decision-makers and rural technicians. A video based on the guide has also been made.