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Ecuador hopes China will build businesses after earthquake

Reporter: Paulo Cabral 丨 CCTV.com

11-16-2016 11:15 BJT

Full coverage: Xi Visits Ecuador, Peru and Chile, Attends APEC Summit

In the aftermath of the April earthquake in Ecuador, the Chinese government took part in emergency and relief operations. Now, the people of Ecuador hope that China will look for business opportunities that will also help the country's reconstruction. CCTV's Paulo Cabral reports.

This bamboo fence marks the spot where Salvador Aguayo had a shop on the ground floor and a home two storeys above. It all collapsed on April 16th when an earthquake hit the northern coast of Ecuador.

Seven months on, Salvador is still living in one of the 5,400 tents donated by the Chinese government as part of a $9.5 million aid package.

He said,"people here in Ecuador are very grateful for all the international aid. These tents, for example, were a great help. God hit us very hard with this earthquake, but he also showed us love, consolation and peace."

Hundreds of people here are still living in tent camps here in the coastal city of Manta. It was among the worst hit by the earthquake. The downtown area remains off-limits to older residents and shop owners, while the demolition continues.

Manta's mayor says international aid was essential to get the city running again. "The Chinese company Synohydro, for example, built a school for us to be used by 15-hundred students. And actually it's even more comfortable than the school that was there before."

The Ecuadorian reconstruction secretary believes China's involvement reflects the deepening ties between the two countries.

Secretary for reconstruction of Manabi and Esmeralda provinces, Carlos Bernal said, "I think it's a natural consequence and a very coherent attitude in this point in history. We have been deepening our bilateral relationship with China a lot over the last ten years in many different sectors."

The international aid that came in response to the earthquake was most welcomed by the people of Ecuador. But the message many here want to convey now is that they are open for business and eager for new investments.

The deputy mayor of the provincial capital says that it's now essential get people back to work, so they can rebuild their lives. "The aid did come. And it came in the right moment. But now what we hope for are investments. Medium-term and, even better, long-term investments. This is what we need."

Ecuador is still cleaning up the mess left over by the earthquake and struggling to speed up reconstruction. There's hope here that Chinese investment could help to make Ecuador's recovery even faster.

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