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China starts largest foreign disaster relief
2005-01-05

 At 3pm Jan. 4 China's relief material to Thailand arrived in the capital of Thailand Bangkok. This is also China's fifth batch of humanistic aid material to the disaster-hit regions. Until Jan. 4 relief materials from China worth 60 million yuan have been sent in two batches to the hard-hit Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. This is so far China's largest foreign relief campaign. Members of the Chinese International Search and Rescue team get prepared to leave for Indonesia at Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 30, 2004. The team of 30 experienced Chinese rescuers flew to Indonesia Dec. 30 to assist the rescue work in areas hit by quake and tsunami in the Southeast Asian country.

Emergency response mechanism runs efficiently and related personnel are within call

At 1pm Jan. 3 Wang Hanjiang, director-general of the Department of Foreign Aid of China's Ministry of Commerce, and senior colonel Guan Youfei, director-general of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defense, were discussing how to further perfect the foreign aid work as they hurriedly finished their meal packaged in boxes.

"Time is crucial in disaster relief for the aid is meaningless if it comes late.", said Wang Hanjiang. In recent years relevant departments of the Chinese government have set up and continue to improve disaster relief response mechanism. The mechanism requires that relevant departments and personnel be on call at any hour and in any circumstances. Once exigency arises the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce will start the emergency response mechanism at the first possible hour and consult to reach handling principle. Then in most cases specific tasks will be made known to the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defense, which is responsible for coordinating foreign aid work in the PLA.

The earthquake and ensuing tsunamis occurred in the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26 last year. After receiving notice on Dec. 27 the Foreign Affairs Office of the MND immediately assigned tasks to relevant departments. The first batch of relief material arrived promptly at Beijing Capital Airport on Dec. 28. Some of the food was transported directly from the production line to the airport. At 09:25am Dec. 29 the first plane carrying 100 tons of relief material took off from Beijing for Sri Lanka and became the first international relief plane to arrive in Sri Lanka. When the food with the production date "Dec. 28, 2004" printed on its package was sent to the disaster-hit areas one day after it was produced many locals couldn't help admiring China's prompt relief action ---.

Relief material is strictly examined before being taken into inventory to ensure high quality

Faced with sudden disaster how can China ensure the quality of the relief material it sends? With this question the reporter made a special visit to Beijing Yueshengzhai Islamic Food Company and a storehouse of the PLA General Logistics Department, which are participating in the relief work.

From 09:40am Dec. 28 to 5am the next morning employees at Beijing Yueshengzhai Islamic Food went all out to complete the task of supplying two batches totaling 31,200 bags of Islamic cooked meat to the disaster-hit regions. The reporter toured the one-off packaging workshop, cooking workshop and high-temperature & pressure sterilization workshop where the employees were working meticulously according to the food safety regulations.

Inside the storehouse relief material such as folding splints, tents and stretchers were laying neatly side by side. Senior colonel Ren Guoquan, director-general of Medical Drugs and Equipment Bureau of the PLA General Logistics Department, said all the goods must pass strict quality examination before being taken into inventory to ensure the quality and quantity of the relief material. In order to meet the need for emergency procurement of munitions turnover storehouses have been set up to make turnover provision for goods in common use.

Urgent and special matters are handled on merits to ensure earliest delivery of pledges

On Dec. 29, 2004 the Chinese government decided to greatly increase China's emergency aid to the tsunamis-hit countries. This was a solemn undertaking in actually implementing the good-neighborly diplomatic policy. It is impossible to tell how many unknown people are making contribution to delivering this undertaking during the New Year holiday.

Senior colonel Su Jiaqing, director-general of Munition and Oils Procurement Bureau of the PLA General Logistics Department told the reporter that at 8am Dec. 28 they received the assignment to prepare and send all the material to the Capital Airport before 03:30pm. Faced with insufficient stock they organized emergent production. During the process all the personnel at Beijing Material Procurement Station, which are responsible for the actual procurement, made emergent technical surveys and material examination. "Many have been working several days in a row."

After the material is ready transportation is another crucial link. Major general Liu Yihe, deputy director of the Communications Office of the PLA General Logistics Department, said leaders of the Department paid much attention to the assignment to transport the relief material. Acting on the principle of handling urgent and special matters on their merits they promptly started military transportation response mechanism and made timely coordination with civil aviation, General Administration of Customs and airlines. Flights, courses and customs procedures are determined and completed within 24 hours and personnel are specifically assigned to supervise the loading. "To make sure these materials are safely and timely sent to the disaster-hit countries many have not taken even a single day of their holidays."

Ren Guoquan said: "When the motherland demands it is indeed something we should do to be able to complete safeguard task in the least possible time."

China's five batches of relief materialRescuing goods is loaded at the Beijing Capital International Airport on December 28. China will provide over 21 million yuan (US$2.6 million) in aid for victims in Asian countries hit by the massive earthquake and devastating tsunami.

The first batch, 100 tons of China's humanistic aid material worth 10 million yuan, was sent to the capital of Sri Lanka Colombo on Dec. 29.

The second batch, about 50 tons of relief material worth 5 million yuan was sent from Guangzhou to Indonesia's Medan on Dec. 30.

The third batch, about 100 tons of relief material worth 15 million yuan was sent to Indonesia's Medan on the evening of Jan. 2.

The fourth batch. A special plane carrying about 70 tons of aid material took off from Beijing on Jan. 3 for Sri Lanka's Colombo.

The fifth batch, about 50 tons of relief material worth 7.5 million yuan, was sent to the capital of Thailand Bangkok on the afternoon of Jan. 4.

By People's Daily Online

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