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China says foreign aid offers 'welcome'

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 13, 2008
China said Tuesday it "welcomed" the offers of aid that have come in from around the world following a devastating earthquake that has caused nearly 10,000 confirmed deaths so far.

"After the earthquake, the international community offered its support and sympathy to China. China and its people express their thanks and their welcome toward that," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

However, he declined to provide specifics on what type of aid would be accepted or whether any already had been.

China has mounted a major relief effort for affected regions but rescue teams have struggled to reach some of the hardest-hit areas due to rugged terrain, bad weather, and widespread destruction of roads.

The death toll is expected to rise sharply once a clear picture of the damage in such areas is obtained.

Countries including the United States, Russia, and international aid groups offered to help in the aftermath of the 7.9-magnitude quake.

President George W. Bush said the United States "stands ready to help", with similar offers coming from Japan, France, Pakistan, South Korea and others.

The death toll is the highest for a quake in China since 242,000 people perished when the northern city of Tangshan was flattened in 1976.

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'Thousands' dead or buried in China factory town: Xinhua
Chengdu, China (AFP) May 13, 2008
"Several thousand" people were killed or buried in a southwestern China town where a major factory collapsed after a powerful earthquake, state-run Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

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