QUITO, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- A new hospital is to be built with Chinese assistance in the earthquake-stricken Ecuadorian city of Chone in northwestern Manabi province, to replace the one that was seriously damaged in the devastating earthquake in April.
Daniel Santos, with Ecuador's disaster relief and reconstruction commission, said the new hospital will be completed in 20 months by China CAMC Engineering Co. Ltd, a Chinese engineering company.
He also noted that the Chinese will also help the country build another hospital and two temporary settlements, adding that China's helping hand will further promote friendship between the two countries.
The Chone city hospital was a white six-story building. It came down in the megaseism, and was left beyond repair, while the patients have to be treated in tents set up in a nearby area. The local government and residents were anxious for a new hospital.
Now as the wreckage has been cleared, workers have begun to survey the site and level the ground. The construction could soon begin.
Luo Yan, chairman of the Chinese firm to build the hospital, said the new medical facility will be a 120-bed hospital, noting that once put into use, it will be capable of serving some 500,000 local people.
She also said that in the first hours after the earthquake, her company's branch office in Ecuador sent a team that crossed into the disaster-hit area and saved three people in what was referred to as the Golden 72 Hours.
With assistance worth over 30,000 U.S. dollars offered by the Chinese firm, the Ecuador 911 Safety Emergency Response Command Center it helped build has also played a key role in coordinating nationwide disaster relief work, she said.
The deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which struck the northern Pacific coast of Ecuador on April 16, caused heavy losses of human lives and property damage in the South American country.
Cesar Navas, Ecuador's Minister of Security and Coordination, said the most pressing challenge facing his country was how it can do the reconstruction and accommodate the inflicted people as fast as possible. That needs a well-though settlement plan and quality construction.
"We trust Chinese quality and speed, which can help us build a hospital that will last 100 years," he said.
The minister said the Ecuadorians are truly grateful for the timely and direct assistance China has offered in the most difficult period of time after the earthquake.
Guillaume Long, Ecuador's foreign minister, said China has offered the most aid and support to his country in the immediate hours after the major quake.