Even as reconstruction efforts is still continuing in Sichuan province's Wenchuan county, the epicenter of the May 12, 2008, earthquake, local residents' income has exceeded the pre-disaster level, an official said on Tuesday.
"Though various economic indicators haven't yet reverted to the level before the 8-magnitude quake, statistics show the income of Wenchuan residents has increased significantly," Zhu Yaozhong, deputy director of the development and reform commission of South China's Guangdong province, said at a press briefing.
The county's urban residents' per capita disposable income reached 12,780 yuan ($1,870) in 2009, 35 percent higher than 9,450 yuan in 2007.
And its rural residents' per capita net income grew by about 20 percent from 2,790 yuan in 2007 to 3,335 yuan in 2009, said Zhu, who is also the deputy chief in charge of Wenchuan's reconstruction effort, which was assigned to Guangdong by the central government.
He attributed the rise in income to more job opportunities created during the rebuilding of infrastructure and the recovery of industries.
Two industrial parks that are under construction are expected to create 20,000 positions for residents of the county, home to some 100,000 people.
"We have been trying hard to improve the livelihood of local residents, while sparing no effort to finish rebuilding the county on time," said Chen Maohui, secretary general of the Guangdong provincial government.
As of April 2010, Guangdong completed 87.5 percent of the 702 reconstruction projects in Wenchuan since rebuilding began in August 2008.
The reconstruction of the quake-affected areas was to be achieved in three years, according to the nation's overall planning for post-quake restoration and reconstruction in Sichuan.
Nearly 16,000 people died with 7,595 still missing in the county after the catastrophe, which in total killed at least 69,000 people and left about 18,000 missing.