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Central Bank Vows Timely Disaster Relief Funds for Earthquake Areas

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) called on its local branches on Tuesday to closely cooperate with the country's finance and civil affairs departments to guarantee timely allocation of disaster relief funds for the earthquake-hit areas.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Wenchuan County, 159 kilometers northwest of the Sichuan provincial capital city of Chengdu, at 2:28 PM on Monday.

The death toll caused by the earthquake climbed to 9,219 by Tuesday morning in eight affected provinces and municipality of Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi, Yunnan, Shanxi, Guizhou, Hubei and Chongqing.

The PBOC convened an urgent work meeting Monday after the earthquake and vowed to collaborate with the local governments in the relief efforts and start emergency response plan to handle the daily business of its local branches, said the central bank in a statement.

"The local branches of the PBOC should assist the governments in providing adequate funds for the earthquake relief and other needed financial services," said the central bank.

The central bank also urged its local branches to ensure enough cash supply in earthquake-stricken areas, adding that it would cooperate with public security and transportation agencies to make the money escort safe.

The quake was the worst to strike China since the Tangshan earthquake in north China's Hebei Province in 1976, which claimed 242,000 lives.

(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2008)

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