EU consumer commissioner to visit China's quake-stricken region

2008-06-12 15:19:28 GMT       2008-06-12 23:19:28 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BRUSSELS, June 12 (Xinhua) -- European Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva is scheduled to visit the earthquake-stricken area of Sichuan Province, China, on Saturday on behalf of the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), the Commission said on Thursday.

Kuneva, who arrived in Beijing on Tuesday and is currently in Hong Kong, is the first EU commissioner to visit China since the May 12 earthquake, which killed more than 69,000 people.

On her visit to Sichuan province, Kuneva will witness the relief efforts being carried out by various teams of European volunteers and aid workers, and see first-hand how these operations are progressing, the Commission said.

She plans to visit a small rural village that has been 90 percent destroyed by the earthquake, where Spain, Denmark and Britain have set up water and sanitation operations and medical facilities. She will also visit another village where an Italian-funded field hospital and temporary school have been created, the Commission said.

Kuneva will meet with representatives of European companies operating in China, who have been helping the earthquake victims through donations and through voluntary work provided by their employees, it said.

The European Commission responded rapidly with 2 million euros (some 3.08 million U.S. dollars) in fast-track humanitarian aid shortly after the earthquake occurred, and the fund has been used to provide tents for homeless families in the heart of the affected area. It has also dispatched a coordination team to the area.

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