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US$12.7m raised from civilian donations
By Wang Yi, Liu Weifeng & Tian Xiuzhen (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-07 00:21

The Red Cross Society of China and China Charity Federation have raised roughly 105 million yuan (US$12.7 million) from donations by Chinese for tsunami victims, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

A child donates for tsunami-hit countries in Laiwu, Shangdong on January 7, 2005. [newsphoto]
The totals were as of 4 pm on Friday.

The ministry has promised to report the latest donation information from Chinese civilians regularly.

The ministry has enhanced supervision of the donations to the two charity groups to ensure the relief funds go straight to the tsunami victims, said Zou Ming, deputy director of Disaster and Social Relief Department under the ministry.

The money collected by the China Charity Federation will be distributed via the Foreign Ministry, responding to the calls of foreign embassies to China.

In answer to the call of the Indonesian Embassy to China, for example, the China Charity Federation has earmarked more than 3 million yuan (US$360,000) to disaster areas in that country, Shao Jiayan, an official with the federation said on Friday.

The Red Cross Society of China has co-ordinated its donations with the International Red Cross to make certain the relief fund and materials reach the disaster victims as soon as possible.

The two organizations announced in Beijing on Friday that a batch of recently donated medicine worth US$5.3 million is ready for immediate shipment to Indonesia.

The medicines are to be delivered to children in Indonesia, said Wang Xingzui, deputy executive director with China Foundation For Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) on Friday.

Jointly donated by CFPA and the US-based Mercy Corps, a leading global charity NGO, the medicines and vitamins are packaged up now at a Tianjin port and awaiting customs approval.

"Children are the most vulnerable groups in the population and they have suffered a great deal from this calamity," Wang said.

According to statistics by United Nations Children's Fund, children are among the worst stricken, with the casualties taking up 39 per cent of the total.

Physically weak, it was hard for them to escape from flood waters, or to stand up against the battering of the floating debris and torrents.

Also, about 900,000 children have been torn away from their families, and are isolated, some with wounds or diseases, according to the same source.

Furthermore, the affected children are from the poorest countries of the world.

Even before the tsunamis, many of the children in these areas were malnourished, under-weight, with poor immunity against childhood diseases.

The medicine is to be distributed to local medical teams in Indonesia via Mercy Corps' branches there.

Danto Ntoma, minister with Indonesian Embassy, expressed his appreciation on behalf of the Indonesian people for all the efforts the Chinese people and the international institutes have done.

While in Shanghai, local government is to distribute 5.7 million manuals free citywide this month to enhance people's awareness of preventing and countering against disasters.

"The tsunami was a disaster to the human being, but many lives were killed by their ignorance of how to escape," said Liu Nanshan, director of the Municipal Civil Defence Office.

The manual covers 11 of the 25 kinds of accidents and disasters that are likely to occur in cities, such as fire, fog, heat, poisoning, rain storms, earthquakes, epidemics, tornadoes and so on.

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