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Aid from US, Japan on Route to China's Disaster-hit Regions

China has forwarded disaster-relief materials provided by Japan and the United States to the country's hard-hit eastern and southern regions for distribution, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in Beijing on Saturday.

Wang Zhenyao, director of the ministry's disaster relief bureau, said the supplies from Japan, worth 57 million yen (about US$524,000), had been transferred to eastern Anhui Province. The US aid, worth about US$820,000, would be distributed in Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China.

Japan's aid included 300 power generators, 300 coils of wire, 3,000 blankets and 2,100 sleeping cushions. The US aid included 6,000 winter coats, 1,657 blankets and 87,552 ration packets.

According to Wang, disaster-relief materials procured by the southern city of Shenzhen arrived in the worst-hit city of Chenzhou in the central Hunan Province on Saturday afternoon.

The supplies, including cotton-padded quilts, coats, electric torches and other lighting equipment, were being handed out to those affected by the disaster.

The snow havoc, the worst in five decades, and even in a century in a few areas, caused death, structural collapse, blackouts, accidents, transport problems and livestock and crop loss in 19 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.

In the past four weeks, the snow and cold has killed more than 80 people, toppled 300,000 homes, damaged 90 million hectares of crops and resulted in direct economic losses of about 80 billion yuan (US$11.1), according to the Red Cross Society of China.

(Xinhua News Agency February 10, 2008)

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