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ADB extends 1-mln-USD grant to aid quake victims
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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Tuesday announced a 1-million-U.S.-dollar grant of technical assistance for emergency relief efforts following the May 12 earthquake.

The grant would fund the acquisition of essential equipment and supplies for basic services, said a statement from the ADB.

It would also help review the disaster management framework for the quake zone, and conduct a preliminary damage-and-need assessment of the physical and social infrastructure based on the Chinese government's assessment, said the statement.

Subsequent reconstruction programs and projects could require additional ADB-supported funding.

Manmohan Parkash, ADB senior transport specialist, said the assistance would "emphasize quick action to protect the poor, children, vulnerable, and other at-risk groups."

The Chinese government would contribute 250,000 U.S. dollars equivalent to cover office accommodation and counterpart staff for the assistance and the Ministry of Civil Affairs would be the executing agency.

The 8.0-magnitude earthquake, centered in southwest China's Sichuan Province, has claimed at least 67,183 lives as of Tuesday noon, according to the Information Office of the State Council.

Country director of ADB's China Resident Mission Robert Wihtol said it was premature to have a firm view on the long-term impact of the quake on China's economy, but the ADB saw no justification to revise its projection for China.

The ADB had predicted before the earthquake that China would realize a 10-percent growth rate this year despite inflation risks. Wihtol said his bank would review new growth projections in the third quarter.

(Xinhua News Agency May 27, 2008)

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