China / Society

Rescuers race to aid of flooded neighbor

By Agencies (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-05 07:44

A 10-member Chinese rescue team arrived in Yangon, Myanmar on Tuesday to help those affected by severe flooding that has killed at least 47 people.

The Blue Sky Rescue Team, China's largest non-governmental humanitarian organization, was the first international rescue team to arrive in Myanmar. It will rush to Rakhine state, one of the worst-hit areas, said Zhang Yong, the team's leader.

"We came here for the first time to rescue disaster-affected people as we are neighboring countries and have friendly relations," Zhang said.

Two more rescue teams are ready to provide assistance if Zhang's team identifies additional needs after observing the situation and meeting with government officials.

Flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains during June and July has hit many parts of the country, destroying houses, farmland, railway lines, bridges and roads.

China also is providing additional aid, including donations for families and rescue boats to facilitate residents' transportation in flood-hit areas.

Hong Liang, China's ambassador to Myanmar, presented a second round of donations to help 20,000 families in Sittway, in Myanmar's western Rakhine state, on Tuesday. A first-aid delivery on Monday helped 1,545 families in Kalay township in the Sagaing region.

Another Chinese group will be dispatched to carry out an aid mission in central Magway region, providing a family rescue package of daily necessities for those affected by the flooding.

The total funding for the various aid packages was about $300,000.

China also has pledged to help reconstruction of destroyed schools and infrastructure, and to provide farmers with paddy strains for rehabilitating flooded farmlands, Hong said.

Hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmland were submerged, with Rakhine tallying the most, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.

Myanmar said on Tuesday it had appealed for international assistance to help provide food, temporary shelter and clothing for more than 210,000 people affected by the widespread flooding. At least 47 people have died in the floods, according to the government.

"We are cooperating and inviting international assistance. We have started contacting possible donor organizations and countries," said Ye Htut, information minister and a spokesman for the president's office.

He said international assistance also was needed to relocate people and rebuild communities after the floodwaters retreat.

Xinhua - Reuters

(China Daily 08/05/2015 page3)

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