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International community appreciates China's response to quake: UN official
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19:46, May 12, 2009

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· Anniversary of May 12 Quake
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The swift response of the Chinese government to the massive earthquake last year in southwest China and its effectiveness and openness were highly appreciated by the international community, a senior UN official said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"This was a huge earthquake with huge repercussions on the people of the area, both in terms of people killed and injured and of course the massive destruction of property," said John Holmes, UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, and emergency relief coordinator.

"What was impressive, I think, was the way the Chinese authorities, local and central, responded to that," he said.

The speed and effectiveness of China's response and its openness are worth mentioning and very much appreciated by the international community, he said.

On the first anniversary of the May 12 earthquake, Holmes once again extended his heartfelt condolences to the people affected by the quake.

"I'm confident that their lives will be improved in the future by what the Chinese government is doing and by what help the international community is being able to give," he said.

"Life can return to normal eventually and I'm sure this could happen in this area too. Meanwhile there is a lot of courage, a lot of persistence, but I know this is a characteristic of Chinese people," he said. "And I'm confident the future will be good in the end."

He said the United Nations had provided immediate aid to China and helped the recovery and reconstruction process through its agencies in the country.

Holmes, who recently returned from a two-day visit to China, said Chinese government officials had briefed him on reconstruction, and the UN and China were collaborating on risk management and disaster reduction.

He said China has acquired an enormous amount of experience in dealing with natural disasters, and he hoped China would play a central role in international disaster risk reduction.

Source: Xinhua

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