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Chinese communities in South Korea reach out hand to help fight novel coronavirus outbreak

(Xinhua)    13:27, February 19, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- "Fighting, Wuhan!" "Fighting, China!" Such encouraging words were written on the cardboard boxes of masks piled up in the logistic warehouse of China's Yunda Express in South Korea.

These boxes will soon be delivered to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) outbreak, to help combat the epidemic. The masks were all donated from Chinese nationals residing in South Korea.

Since the very beginning when the COVID-19 broke out in Wuhan, Chinese residing all over South Korea have actively joined efforts to provide as much help as possible in China's battle against the deadly epidemic.

"Although we are living overseas, our hearts are deeply connected to our motherland," said Nian Chen, president of the All-Korea Association of Chinese Students and Scholars.

"Our association, including more than 100 branches in universities in South Korea, started fund-raising on Jan. 26, and in less than 10 hours on the first day alone, there were over 26,000 students and teachers taking part and contributing their donations," Nian said.

Of these donations many came from overseas students who have no source of income themselves and their donations did not come on a massive scale.

"But we believe that more hands produce a stronger flame, and we have already collected more than 530,000 yuan (about 75,745 U.S. dollars)," he said.

Aside from collecting funds for charity projects to help medical staff working at the front line, a lot of Chinese nationals are focusing on addressing the urgent need in hospitals in China for surgical masks, goggles and protective gears.

Sun Sheng, president of the All-Korea Chinese Workers' Federation, said that he contacted several local mask manufacturers ahead of the 4-day Lunar New Year holiday in South Korea, which can produce 1 million masks a week. The producers agreed to offer masks at the original price to China.

"As an overseas Chinese, we wish to do whatever we can to provide some bit of help," said Sun.

Cao Qiang was an employee working at the Incheon warehouse of Yunda Express in South Korea. His major responsibility was to assist in delivering badly-needed medical goods to China as fast as possible.

"We cut our Spring Festival holiday and went back to work early to help with delivery of masks and protective suits," Cao said. "We now usually work till 11 or 12 o'clock at night, but everyone is so high-spirited and passionate about what we are doing."

"And we are doing the best we can to deliver faster, because we know there was a severe lack of medical materials domestically, in particular in Wuhan," he said.

Several Chinese delivery companies have opened up green channels for the donated materials.

Liang Zhongjin, executive director of Yunda Express South Korean branch, said that they have already cleared 5,000 square meters' space in the warehouse in South Korea for storage of donations.

Most of the donations were masks, he noted. He also contacted in advance airlines and customs to make sure such relief supplies can reach Hubei Province, the most heavily hit province of China, at an earliest date possible free of charge.

So far, Chinese nationals living in South Korea have donated in total more than 800,000 yuan (about 114,331 dollars) and about 320,000 masks and 2,000 protective suits directly to the severely affected areas in China, according to figures released by the Chinese Embassy in South Korea.

"If we send the medical materials back one day earlier, then perhaps there will be one less infection and more patients being saved," Cao said. "Although I can't work at the front line in domestic hospitals, I hope I can contribute all my share."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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