A photographer takes a picture of Shuanglonghai Waterfall, a new scenic spot formed after the earthquake in Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan province, in November. (Hua Xiaofeng/for China Daily)
Sichuan province will invest 11.8 billion yuan ($1.78 billion) in the post-earthquake reconstruction of Jiuzhaigou, a scenic area on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage list.
Located in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture, the area, known for its transparent alpine lakes, was damaged in a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Aug 8.
Of the hefty investment, 859 million yuan will be used to restore the ecosystem, 3.15 billion to restore damaged sights in the scenic area, 5.63 billion to build infrastructure facilities, 1.95 billion to handle hidden risks of geological hazards in Jiuzhaigou and surrounding areas, and 202 million to build houses, according to the Sichuan government.
Restoration of the ecosystem will be completed by 2020, with 19,227 hectares of forests, 7,800 hectares of grassland and a 3,333-hectare panda habitat to be restored, the authority said.
The overwhelming majority of the world's giant pandas in the wild are in Sichuan, and Jiuzhaigou is a leading panda habitat, according to Zhang Hemin, executive director of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.
Workers will appraise and harness geological hazards in Jiuzhaigou and neighboring Songpan, Zoige and Pingwu counties and ensure real-time monitoring of 558 sites of hidden geological hazards, the government said.
Sichuan aims to build 121.5 kilometers of highways in Jiuzhaigou by 2020, while construction of safe and economically affordable homes in the quake zone are scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.
Twenty-five people died as a result of the Jiuzhaigou earthquake, and 493 people were injured. The quake zone's scenic wonders and economy also were victims of the disaster.
Two days after the quake, the Nuorilang Waterfalls in Jiuzhaigou collapsed. Nuorilang, 24.5 meters tall and 270 meters wide, was China's widest waterfall and had also been chosen by netizens as one of the country's most spectacular.
Jiuzhaigou has been closed since the quake.
Last year, Sichuan's tourism earnings surpassed 770 billion yuan, more than 800 million of which came from Jiuzhaigou, according to the Sichuan tourism development commission.