Wed, April 28, 2010
China > Mainland > 7.1-magnitude quake hits Qinghai

Yushu vows honesty in quake relief funds

2010-04-28 02:47:08 GMT2010-04-28 10:47:08 (Beijing Time)  Global Times

A woman and her children walk near tents at a makeshift shelter base in Yushu. The base, the largest in the earthquake-hit zone, can handle hundreds of thousands of people who were left homeless by the April 14 disaster. Photo: CFP

In an effort to avoid a replay of the Sichuan earthquake recovery, where 30 million yuan ($4.4 million) in charitable donations were misused, the Qinghai provincial government promises to make good on every donation for reconstruction of the rubble left behind by the Yushu earthquake.

The local government's assurances come at a time when the public is demanding more transparency in the distribution of disaster relief funds and charitable donations.

Since a 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook Qinghai Province on April 14, the Tibetan prefecture of Yushu has received about eight billion yuan ($1.2 billion) in disaster relief fund and goods.

More donations and goods are on the way to Yushu as national and international fund-raising events continue to pour money into the disaster region.

Zhang Guangrong, vice governor of Qinghai, told a media conference on Monday that the provincial government is confident that all donated funds and goods will be used clearly, fairly and scientifically.

"Right after the earthquake occurred, the government set up a team led by the secretary of the provincial discipline inspection commission to supervise the use of disaster relief funds and goods," said Zhang.

"We published regulations on the use of funds and goods and sent out auditors to Yushu along with a financial supervision team to make sure that all funds and goods are distributed with order and fairness," Zhang added.

The National Audit Administration also sent a guidance team to Yushu on April 17 to help train local audit officials in Yushu and set up account books and statistics software before the actual auditing work began.

The Qinghai Audit Department has listed five hotline phone numbers on the Internet to receive tips alleging corruption or any misuse of disaster relief funds.

"I haven't got any complaints yet, " an official surnamed Li from the Qinghai Audit Department, who is responsible for answering the phone calls, told the Global Times Tuesday.

Wang Xinping, deputy director of the Qinghai Audit Department, told the Global Times Tuesday that the audit team in Yushu has 30 officials to supervise the distribution of disaster relief funds and goods and plans to continue work through the reconstruction effort over the next two years.

"I just went to a village called Zhaxidatun to check the distribution of a monthly allowance for the elderly, which is 1,000 yuan ($146) per person," said Wang.

"The elderly told me that they all got the money."

More efforts are being made to improve the transparency of donations for Yushu relief.

The official website of the Red Cross Society of China promised to publish details on donations for Yushu earthquake victims, including each donor's name and the amount of each donation.

Donors can track how their money is being spent; beginning on the second day after the donation appears on the society's bank account.

Zha Huiqin, finance director for the Red Cross Society of China, told the Beijing Evening News on Monday that any individual or organization donating more than 500,000 yuan ($73,253) to the society would be able to contact the society through a specially assigned employee to get more details on how their donations are being used.

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