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Feature: Chinese solidarity reaches quake-hit communities in central Italy

By Alessandra Cardone (Xinhua)    13:07, August 27, 2016

AMATRICE, Italy, Aug. 26 -- The communities in central Italy most affected by Aug. 24 major quake were reached by the Chinese solidarity on Friday through rescue workers, aids, and pledges of funds.

Chinese volunteers arrived from China to Amatrice on Thursday evening to add their efforts to the huge search operation under way in the area.

The civil rescue team was organized by Ram Union sports club, which is based in the city of Hangzhou.

The small town of Amatrice, Rieti province, was one of those worst hit by the 6.0-magnitude quake, and suffered the highest number of victims, well exceeding 200 out a provisional toll of 267.

More than a dozen people would still be unaccounted for in Amatrice on Friday, and rescuers have been digging for survivors for two days now.

Three people of the Ram Union team came directly from China, one from the United States, and they were joined by 10 team members sent by the Italian branch of the group.

"Two doctors and a demolition expert are among our volunteers," team chief He Jun told Xinhua.

They also brought relief goods to the victims of the quake.

"We are likely to operate here in Amatrice on Friday, and possibly move in a second affected site by tomorrow," said the team chief.

Their efforts, as well as those of all the crews at work, were hampered by aftershocks.

Since Thursday afternoon, some of the tremors were very intense and made already damaged buildings tremble and more ruins collapse.

Digging and checking activities on the buildings had to be repeatedly halted in order not to put rescuers more at risk.

A 4.8-magnitude quake hit the area on Friday morning, further damaging some infrastructures.

The Chinese team had to interrupt their activities because of the dangerous situation, and would wait for Italian authorities to allow them to resume their work, He Jun explained.

"Our rescue team is very experienced, having helped in similar situations such as the major earthquakes occurred in Ecuador (in April) and Taiwan (in February)," the official said.

They joined rescue operations also in Nepal in 2015, and assisted in the devastating quake in Chinese Sichuan province in 2008, in Qinghai province in 2010, and Yunnan in 2014.

Another sign of solidarity also came from Suning, the Chinese retail giant that has recently took over Italian soccer club Inter Milan.

The company on Friday pledged 200,000 euros (226,000 U.S. dollars) to the aid groups assisting the affected communities, Il Corriere della Sera daily reported citing a company statement.

"We are very sorry for the tragedy that hit the heart of this country, and will make sure those who have lost loved ones in the quake will receive our solidarity,"Il Corriere cited Suning chairman Zhang Jindong as saying.

Finally, the Chinese communities living in the Tuscany region rallied their forces to help quake-stricken people of central Italy.

Volunteers linked to the Chinese communities in Firenze and Prato will drive four lorries of relief goods, including non-perishable food, to hamlet Sant'Angelo di Amatrice on Saturday, according to La Repubblica newspaper.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor: Wu Chengliang,Bianji)

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