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German Red Cross official praises China's quake relief effort
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13:14, May 06, 2009

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A senior German Red Cross official lauded China's relief efforts after the devastating earthquake in Sichuan last year and highlighted Chinese-German cooperation in combating the disaster.

"I was really impressed by all the efforts that were taken by the Chinese authorities, by the Red Cross Society of China, and by many many volunteers coming from all over the country, supporting people there in Sichuan," Christos Johnen, deputy head of the Disaster Management Department of the German Red Cross, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

In the run-up to the first anniversary of the May 12 earthquake that hit southwest China, Johnen said he was also impressed by the resolve of the people in Sichuan to recover from the earthquake.

5-year-old girl Wei Zhuoyue sits on a motorcycle in front of new houses at Qipan village in Xiang'e town of Dujiangyan City, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Jan. 21, 2009.(Xinhua/Wang Jianhua)

The forward-looking moods there were quite impressive," said Johnen, who supervised the German rescue team's work in the quake-stricken Sichuan province.

Doctors, nurses and military staff who were working around the clock there left a deep impression on him. He praised the doctors and nurses from Shanghai Huashan Hospital, saying they were "very professional" and made good use of the materials provided by the German Red Cross.

Johnen praised the dedication of the medical staff at the No.1 People's Hospital in Dujiangyan city. He said most of the staff shifted to work in the German Red Cross field hospital after their hospital was razed to the ground, although they themselves were victims of the earthquake, many losing homes and family members.

The German official also recalled his team's "extremely good efficient cooperation" with the Chinese Foreign Ministry and local authorities. "Whatever questions we had and whatever support we needed from them, it was provided in a very professional and easy way since the first week I was there. it was really very good," he said.

Johnen left Sichuan on June 20, about six weeks after the earthquake happened, while many of his German colleagues left at the end of July and two stayed until August as they helped Chinese counterparts to repack the field hospital which was no longer needed.

The field hospital opened on May 26, 2008 in Dujiangyan city, one of the worst-hit areas in Sichuan. The field hospital was the first of its kind set up by a foreign country after the earthquake.


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