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UN Official Praises China's Relief Efforts

A United Nations emergency relief coordinator spoke highly yesterday of China's relief efforts in the aftermath of a massive earthquake in Pakistan earlier this month.

In his meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan Egeland asked for 20,000 tents, 10 helicopters and as much money as immediately possible, and met with a "positive response."

"I was confident that China would give such an answer, and I assume that assistance will flow in massively to Pakistan," he said yesterday in a brief press conference in Beijing.

Premier Wen Jiabao promised that China would provide whatever help it can for the reconstruction work in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, which were rocked by a 7.6-magnitude quake on October 8.

China also sent rescue teams to search through rubble for survivors.

"We are at the moment wanting to see China become an even bigger and more predictable donor in international assistance work," Egeland said, and China agreed it has the potential and obligation to help.

"They do not at all question our urgent need," he said.

Egeland also praised China's relief efforts in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami last December.

"We did receive US$20 million, as some money was given very early and immediately after the emergency," he said. "China did very well."

China has also shown itself to be one of the leaders in the world in disaster relief, he said.

"China has been responding so well to earthquakes and other emergencies in the country, and everybody needs to learn from it," Egeland said.

China probably had the most tents in storage at the time, he added.

"We are not doing well enough as international communities," he said. "We are behind in reaching people up in the mountains in Pakistan, and about 3 million people have been homeless or have had their houses damaged."

The freezing temperature, rain and lack of roads have prevented rescue teams from reaching out to those stranded.

"All nations must come together," Egeland said, "and China is one of those of which we have highest expectations."

(China Daily October 20, 2005)


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