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China sends aid team, supplies to Pakistan
By Jiao Xiaoyang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-10 05:57

China flew a 49-member rescue team and tons of materials to Pakistan yesterday as a first batch of relief to its quake-hit neighbour.

The rescue team, composed of 49 rescuers, medical staff and seismological experts, took a chartered flight yesterday for the earthquake-stricken regions of Pakistan, an official with the China Seismological Bureau (CSB) told China Daily.

The team, headed by CSB Deputy Director Zhao Heping, also carried six search dogs, 8 tons of search equipment and nine tons of relief materials.

China's relief effort represents the first emergency humanitarian aid China has offered to Pakistan. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan announced yesterday that the Chinese Government will provide US$6.2 million worth of aid to Pakistan.

President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing all sent messages to their Pakistani and Indian counterparts expressing their sympathy and condolence, according to Kong.

The Ministry of Commerce also said on its website yesterday that it has launched an emergency foreign aid mechanism, and is working with the foreign ministry and the military to organize the relief effort.

"The rescue team's job could be more than rescue," said Zhang Guomin, a researcher with CSB.

"The team is led by a CSB deputy director and it is very likely to discuss seismological co-operation with the Pakistani side," said Zhang.

Zhang said China is concerned that the quake took place not far from the Chinese boundary of the western autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Tibet.

The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan paid close attention to the quake. It learnt that one Chinese worker was killed and four injured by the quake. The body of the victim, Huang Bingkun, 39, was brought yesterday afternoon to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad by a Pakistani army helicopter.

It is the fourth time China has sent a rescue team abroad since 2003. The first team was sent to help following an earthquake in Algeria in May 2003, the second was to help after the quake in Bam, Iran in December 2003, and the third helped after the Indian Ocean tsunami at the end of last year.

China formed the China International Rescue Team in April 2001, with 222 seismological, engineering and medical experts from CSB and the military.

The team is equipped with modern emergency equipment, more than 20 vehicles and more than 20 dogs.

(China Daily 10/10/2005 page1)

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