NGOs work with govt to rebuild northwest China's quake-hit town

20:19, May 31, 2010      

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Queues quickly formed in front of a make-shift shelter at a hillside village as relief goods were being prepared for distribution.

People lined up for free cotton underwear, socks, solar-powered lights, and dishware -- sometimes beds and tents were also available there.

The stand is run by Canada-based Plateau Perspective, one of a few foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Yushu, a remote and predominantly Tibetan region rocked by the devastating 7.1-magnitude earthquake on April 14.

Director of Plateau Perspective Marc Foggin told Xinhua the group was able to mobilize a team of 20 foreign medical specialists and joined the rescue efforts the day after the earthquake hit on April 15. They worked side-by-side with thousands of soldiers, police, medical workers and volunteers to save lives.

Despite their presence in China for more than three decades, NGOs have not flourished until very recently. Their role became widely recognized by the public in the wake of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in southwest China' s Sichuan Province that left over 80,000 people dead or missing.

Foggin said years of involvement in Yushu's ecological and environmental programs gave the Canadian organization an edge in getting the government's nod to join the rescue operations as soon as possible.
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