As of Friday noon, the Red Cross Society of China has received a total of 1.155 billion yuan (about US$165 million) from domestic and overseas donors, and it has provided 223 million yuan worth cash or goods to the affected areas.
The society has made an emergency call for international aid for the relief of victims from the areas that have been severely affected by Monday's earthquake.
On Thursday, the Chinese society asked via the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, for financial assistance for the affected people.
The money will be used, within a period of 12 months, to buy relief goods including food, drinking water, tents, warm clothes, lighting equipment, and telecommunications facilities, according to the society.
On Monday, an earthquake measuring 7.8 degrees on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, southwest China, and affected a large part of the country. As of 4:00 PM Thursday, nearly 20,000 deaths have been reported and the official estimates put the total death toll at 50,000 or more.
On May 12, the day the earthquake occurred, the society made a call for domestic donations. The society and Red Cross organizations from Hong Kong, Macao and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have sent two working groups to the affected areas, on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
Meanwhile, the society has dispatched eight rescue teams to the earthquake-hit areas. The Provincial Red Cross Society of Sichuan has organized 23 rescue teams to the affected cities and counties.
At 3:00 PM Friday, a chartered plane carrying Red Cross search team from Taiwan took off from Taipei, directly heading for Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan.
(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2008)