World digs deeper to help quake victims

2008-05-21 01:10:14 GMT       2008-05-21 09:10:14 (Beijing Time)        China Daily      

In the wake of the death and destruction caused by the Sichuan earthquake, the international community continues to deliver assistance and relief to devastated areas.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Tuesday that Australia will provide an additional A$1 million ($960,000) to help rescue and recovery efforts in Sichuan.

The country will also provide a range of specialist equipment including cutting and lifting machinery after Chinese authorities outlined their specific requests, he said.

"The Australian government will also provide, at the request of Chinese authorities, further basic emergency relief supplies such as generators, blankets, tarpaulins, jerry cans and water tanks to assist survivors," Smith said in a press release.

The response follows Australia's initial offer of an urban search and rescue taskforce and subsequent pledge of A$1 million through the International Federation of the Red Cross.

"On behalf of the Australian government and the Australian people, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to China, and in particular to the families and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy," he said.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) also announced Tuesday it will provide China with an additional emergency assistance package worth $4 million to help recovery work.

ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said the aid materials to be shipped will include medicines and tents.

The government offered funds and aid materials worth $1 million to China last week, and a team of 41 rescue workers and four medical staff is already in the southwestern province.

In another development, the first batch of relief donations from Saudi Arabia arrived in Chengdu Tuesday afternoon, the foreign ministry said.

The goods include 4,000 tents and blankets, instant food, milk powder for children and rescue tools.

The relief materials delivered on Tuesday are part of a $10-million package promised by Saudi Arabia. Three more batches are to follow.

The country also offered a further 85,000 tents, 400,000 tent cloths and 500,000 blankets Tuesday to help China with the relief work.

Previously, Saudi Arabia announced a donation of $50 million in cash for the quake zone.

As the aid effort stepped up, the following developments have taken place by Monday:

Germany has decided to increase its aid package to 1.5 million euros ($2.34 million) from its original offer of 500,000 euros.

- Norway has provided 110,000 euros worth of relief materials and the China section of Det Norske Veritas has offered 1 million yuan in cash in aid.

- The second batch of relief goods worth $18,000 from Singapore has arrived in Chengdu.

- The Japanese government's abandoned chemical weapons office has donated 10,500 yuan.

- The UN Refugee Agency has offered $60,000 in aid.

- The International Organization for Migration has offered $50,000 in aid.

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