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Hu sends condolences; relief team ready
(China Daily/Xinhua)
Updated: 2004-12-27 08:39

President Hu Jintao expressed his condolences over the loss of lives in seven South and Southeast Asia nations in letters to the heads of state.

In separate messages to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indian President Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Bangladesh President Iazuddin Ahmed, Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej, Malaysian Supreme Head of State Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail, President Hu offered condolences to victims of the disaster on behalf of the Chinese Government and people.

Hu also said he believed local peoples could overcome hardships, loss of properties and rebuild their homelands.

The president also ordered the Chinese Foreign Ministry to gather information on Chinese citizens affected by the tidal waves and offer assistance to them.

A Taiwan tourist was killed, while two tourists from Zhejiang Province of East China are missing in Thailand, Beijing-based China News Service reported.

Two Hong Kong tourists, a 26- year-old man and a 33-year-old woman were injured by quake-led tidal waves in Phuket, Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Co Ltd reported last night.

Hundreds of Chinese tourists are reportedly in the hit areas of Thailand alone.

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has asked Chinese ambassadors in the disaster-stricken countries to express their sympathy and solicitude to the relevant countries' foreign ministers.

The Foreign Ministry has also requested China's embassies and consulates to keep close touch with the countries where they are stationed, and assist Chinese citizens caught up in the disaster.

China also announced yesterday evening that it will offer emergency humanitarian aid to India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Thailand, all seriously stricken.

The Ministry of Commerce said it has launched an emergency aid mechanism and consulted with concerned departments to deliver the aid as soon as possible.

Chinese relief team ready for Indonesia

A draft of more than 40 Chinese experts are standing by to head for earthquake- and tsunamis-stricken Indonesia for relief work, said Huang Jianfa, an official with the Chinese State Seismological Bureau (CSSB).

"The task force is on all-weather condition, and will set off at the invitation of the Indonesian government," Huang said Sunday night.

A powerful earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale by CSSB shocked many parts of the provinces of North Sumatera and Aceh in Indonesia Sunday morning.

The tremor also triggered tsunamis, which submerged coastal land.

At least 12,000 people have been identified dead in the catastrophe, according to governments of the countries suffering the tsunamis and quake.

CSSB will keep in touch with the Indonesian government through the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

There have been 31 relief drafts from 20 countries available so far.

A evaluation team of six experts from the United Nations will start off Monday to investigate and supply relevant data for relief work, an official with UN said.

South and southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Maldives, India, Malaysia and Bangladesh were also affected.

Sunday's quake was the third to hit Indonesia after Nabire in Papua on Nov. 26 which killed 17 people and Alor in East Nusa Tenggara on Nov. 12, which killed at least 27 people.

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