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Donations now best way to help quake relief work: HK gov't
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The most direct and effective way to help Sichuan earthquake victims is to support earthquake relief donations in Hong Kong, a spokesman from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said on Thursday.

The spokesman said that individual voluntary groups are advised not to make their own arrangement to travel to the quake-hit areas to undertake voluntary work, so as not to affect the current relief work on the mainland.

"We would like to extend our gratitude to those who are eager to sign up as volunteers and help out victims in the disaster zones," the spokesman said.

"However, taking into account the latest situation on the ground, voluntary groups and volunteers should not go to quake-hit areas for the time being, except for those professional relief teams which have made arrangements through the relevant mainland authorities," he added.

The spokesman appealed to those who planned to sign up as volunteers to provide their contact details to international relief agencies, such as Hong Kong World Vision and the Hong Kong Committee of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), or register with the "Rebuild Sichuan Volunteer Program" co-organized by the Agency for Volunteer Service and RTHK starting from June 2, so that the relevant organizations could get in touch with them when necessary to support the mainland's earthquake relief work.

"Earthquake relief and reconstruction work is going to be a long process. We are sure that many Hong Kong people will have the opportunity to offer their help and support to the earthquake victims in different ways," the spokesman said.

During this period, people and groups may continue to make donations to support relief work, which is the most direct and effective way to help the quake victims, he said.

Sichuan Province, in southwestern China, was rocked by a devastating 8.0-magnitude earthquake on May 12. The death toll from the quake rose to 68,109 nationwide as of Wednesday noon, while 364,552 people were injured and 19,851 people were missing.

(Xinhua News Agency May 29, 2008)

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