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Chinese Rescue Team Arrives in Haiti, 8 Chinese Still Missing

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A Chinese emergency rescue team arrived in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince early Thursday local time, to help the rescue operation after an earthquake in which up to 100,000 people are feared dead and eight Chinese are still missing.

A Chinese rescue team arrives at the airport in Haitian capital Port-au-Prince on January 14, 2009. [Xinhua]

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told a regular press briefing four of the missing Chinese were peace-keepers while the other four were from a six-member working group of the Ministry of the Public Security.

The eight Chinese were holding peacekeeping consultations with UN staff in the headquarters of the UN Stabilization Mission in Port-au-Prince when the quake occurred, according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Security.

Other Chinese in Haiti including more than 130 peacekeepers and those working for China's trade office, enterprises and other organizations in Haiti, were safe, said Jiang.

To date, China had sent a total of 142 police peacekeepers to Haiti.

Since a 24-hour hotline was launched immediately after the quake by the Center for Consular Assistance and Protection under China's Foreign Ministry, it had taken more than 300 inquiries, said the spokesperson.

"We will closely follow the disaster and aid information, and try our best to offer assistance to overseas Chinese in Haiti," said Jiang.

The Chinese rescue team of more than 60 people left Beijing Wednesday evening along with 10 tons of food, equipment and medicines. China's Red Cross Society has pledged US$1 million in emergency aid.

Haitian President Rene Preval on Wednesday pleaded for assistance after Tuesday's devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake, which brought about an "unbelievable catastrophe."

The headquarters of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and other UN buildings in Port-au-Prince collapsed in the quake, and around 150 UN workers are buried under debris.

(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2010)