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HK, Macao Chiefs Vow Support for Quake Zone

Delegations from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SAR) governments started their three-day visit to the quake-battered Sichuan Province on Saturday.

The delegations, headed by Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang and Macao Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah, visited a residential community and a middle school in Pengzhou City, one of the worst hit areas in the May 12 earthquake.

In Danan Community in Xiaoyudong Township, where the delegates were greeted by local residents, Tsang and Ho were briefed by local officials on the situations of the survivors.

They also entered the temporary shelter of a villager and talked with a mother and her boy.

In Tongji Township Middle School, where more than 2,000 children were studying in movable plank houses, the two chief executives entered a classroom and expressed the sympathy of the Hong Kong and Macao people to those affected in the quake.

"The hearts of the Hong Kong and Macao people are always linked with you people in Sichuan. We will do our best to support you in rebuilding your beautiful homes," Ho said.

The delegations, which arrived in the southwest Sichuan on Friday evening, were expected to visit Dujiangyan, a hard-hit city, and discuss rebuilding plans with local authorities in the following trip.

The 8.0-magnitude quake centered in Sichuan's Wenchuan County on May 12 left more than 80,000 people dead or missing and millions homeless. More than 14,000 aftershocks have been reported after the quake, with the strongest measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale.

Hong Kong has donated more than 2.1 billion Hong Kong dollars (about US$273 million) to the quake-hit areas, and Macao has donated 450 million patacas (about US$58.5 million) in cash and more than 20 million patacas worth of relief supplies.

(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2008)

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