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Fifty Million Yuan Donated to Victims in East China's Colliery Flooding

Fifty million yuan (US$6.6 million) has been donated for miners from the two flooded collieries and their families in east China's Shandong Province by Sunday noon, according to local sources.

The money shall be used for rescue work, consolation for relatives of the trapped miners, and subsidy for other miners as operation of the mines is suspended.

Among the donators, the China National Coal Group Corp. was the first to offer a large amount -- one million yuan (US$131,578.9). Following suit was the the adjacent Xinwen Coal mine that donated 3.2 million yuan (US$421,052.6).

After the accident, governments of Jinan and Qingdao, two big cities in Shandong, each donated three million yuan (US$394,736.8); Jining and Laiwu, the neighboring cities of Xintai, provided two million yuan (US$263,157.9) and one million yuan respectively.

Individuals were also involved in the nationwide effort, among whom was Gao Runze, who donated 20,000 yuan and 10 tons of disinfectors worth about 30,000 yuan. Gao had been trapped in a flooded coal mine 58 years ago and was rescued with 30 fellows.

A garbage collector Li Quan who lives in the Huanyuan residential quarter donated 200 yuan. "Many miners and their relatives helped me a lot in the past," he said, "I don't have much money but this is what I can do."

Flood water swept through a 65-meter wide breach in the Wenhe River levee on August 17, inundating the Huayuan and Minggong mines, leaving 181 people trapped underground.

Chinese water resources specialists have blamed the disaster largely on heavy rain and inadequate flood prevention facilities.

Local government publicized a donation phone number +86 539 7837050, and old miners of Huayuan called on for donations to help miners and their families tide over the disaster.

Eight pumps are busy working in the mines, piping out 4,129 cubic meters of water per hour.

By 6 PM Sunday, water level in the shaft of Huayuan coal minehas dropped to 61.54 meters, 30.46 meters down from the highest level. But rescuers have to lower the water level by another 91.54 meters to reach the 172 trapped miners.

In the nearby Minggong coal mine, water level has lowered to 61.92 meters.

Apart from the rescue work, consolation work was also underway for the families of the trapped workers. The tragedy had a heavy blow on the company's community, and one out of every 50 families has someone trapped down the pit.

Sixty family members had been hospitalized with high blood pressure or heart problems, said Huangpu Tinghua, deputy general manager of Huayuan Mining Co. Ltd.

Earlier at this weekend, the families of 172 miners trapped in it had each received 2,000 yuan (US$266). And officials said China would not give up on the 181 trapped miners.

(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2007)

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