Countries offer more aid to China as vigils held overseas for quake victims

2008-05-24 16:41:50 GMT       2008-05-25 00:41:50 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Senegal and Portugal offered aid and Russia increased its assistance to China on Friday and Saturday in the wake of the deadly earthquake while Chinese students and Chinese citizens living in Britain and Sweden held evening candle-lit vigils for those killed in the quake.

Senegalese State Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Abdoulaye Diop presented 500,000 U.S. dollars in aid to Chinese ambassador to Senegal Lu Shaye.

Speaking at a ceremony for the handover of the aid, Diop said Senegal will not stand idle as China is preoccupied with rescue and relief work and the aid represented Senegalese friendship, condolences and support for the Chinese, particularly those affected by the earthquake.

The government of Portugal provided 100,000 euros' (150,000 U.S. dollars) worth of relief materials to China, including tents, blankets, kitchenware, sanitary ware and food. These goods will be shipped to China on May 30 together with relief materials from other EU countries.

A Portuguese Interior Ministry official said the government will encourage Portuguese companies to give a helping hand.

Portuguese officials will discuss providing more aid to China next week, which might include sending a medical team to the quake-affected areas, a Portuguese civil protection official told Xinhua.

Nine Russian Air Force transport planes carrying more than 250 tons of relief materials took off on Saturday for China's earthquake-affected areas.

Eight Il-76 transport planes took off from Russia's Siberian region with tents, clothing and other items, as well as disaster relief experts onboard. Another An-124 plane carrying field kitchens, large army tents and blankets took off from Moscow.

The goods were part of additional Russian aid to China. A total of 12 flights are scheduled to deliver more aid cargo to China, where a massive earthquake has claimed more than 60,000 lives.

The transport planes will send mobile kitchens, tents, blankets, food and medicine to southwest China's Sichuan province, which was jolted by an 8.0-magnitude earthquake on May 12, Itar-Tass cited Russian Air Force commander's aide Alexander Drobyshevsky as saying.

Hundreds of Chinese living in Sweden and Chinese students gathered at the Sergels Torg square in central Stockholm Friday night for a candle-lit vigil to mourn those killed in the earthquake. All present at the vigil observed three minutes of silence.

In the northern Scottish port city of Glasgow, some 500 Chinese students and Chinese living in Britain also held a candle-lit vigil in a downtown square. Some Chinese diplomats in the United Kingdom also attended the vigil.

Vigil organizer Zong Pengfei, a student from east China's Jiangsu province, said Chinese students in Glasgow will go on a fundraising campaign this weekend to help the people in the quake-affected area.

In Vietnam, some Chinese company employees and workers donated 400,000 yuan (58,000 U.S. dollars) for the quake-hit areas.

Chinese living in New Zealand's largest city of Auckland and Chinese students there raised more than 240,000 New Zealand dollars (187,200 U.S. dollars) at different fundraising events for the quake-affected areas.

I have comments _COUNT_