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UPDATED: 14:14, December 30, 2004
China to increase aid to tsunami-hit countries
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China will increase by a big margin its emergency assistance to the tsunami-hit countries in both goods and spot exchange, spokesman Chong Quan of the Ministryof Commerce said in Beijing Thursday morning.

"The relief goods will mainly include medicine, generators and food, and the ministry will cooperate closely with departments concerned for airlifting the humanitarian aid to the tsunami-hit countries in the shortest possible time," he said.

Following Sunday's earthquake-powered tsunamis, the Chinese government decided to provide 21.63 million yuan (2.62 million US dollars) worth of spot exchange and relief goods, including tents, blankets and food, to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Thailand.

The first batch of Chinese relief goods arrived in Sri Lanka Wednesday, and the second batch, originally scheduled to leave for Indonesia Wednesday night, will be airlifted as soon as arrangement is ready in the designated airport in Indonesia, Chong said, adding that the ministry is keeping contact with the Indonesian side over the matter.

Considering the heavy casualties and property losses some South and Southeast Asian countries have sustained, the Chinese government decided Wednesday to provide emergency aid to the tsunami-stricken countries again and increase the amount by a big margin, in order to help them in the rescue and reconstruction work.

The decision also represented China's move to answer the call of the United Nations to provide humanitarian aid to the tsumani-hit countries and fulfill its international responsibility, Chong said.

Source: Xinhua

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