Charity says victims being compensated

Updated: 2011-09-08 07:12

By Yu Ran (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI -A Shanghai charity has refuted allegations that it is withholding large amounts of money slated for victims of last November's deadly fire.

The Jing'an branch of the Shanghai Charity Foundation on Tuesday night said that it had already distributed 28.3 million yuan ($4.4 million) of the 54.6 million yuan received in donations.

The announcement refuted rumors circulating on the Internet that only 4.2 million yuan from various public resources had been handed out to the victims.

Wang Hong, who lost his mother and wife in the fire, had said the average amount of compensation received by each of the 156 families affected by the fire was about 10,000 yuan.

"We felt it was very unfair that we had seemingly received a great amount of money from donations but what we actually got was just a small portion of what the media reported," Wang said.

The foundation also promised that the remaining donations would be distributed soon without extra management fees.

The deadly high-rise blaze on Nov 15 killed 58 people and injured 71 others in Shanghai.

It caused direct economic losses of about 158 million yuan.

"We hope the government-authorized team can publish detailed accounts of the donations, along with how the lists of donations had been given to each family since the blaze," Wang said.

Yuan Yulai, a lawyer for victims from 156 families, said it was inappropriate for the Jing'an branch of the Shanghai Charity Foundation to release a response.

"The special work team that was established by the city government to deal with the aftermath of the disaster should be responsible for the distribution of compensation and donations," Yuan said.

He added that he had already written an open letter to the city government representing the victims, requiring that the donations be handed out as promised.

The foundation also claimed it would disclose the audited results of donations distributed to the public after the authorized accounting firm finishes the auditing process.