Pledging to perform openly and transparently, Zhao Baige, executive vice-president of the Red Cross Society of China, asked for social understanding to help facilitate the ongoing disaster relief efforts by the biggest humanitarian organization in China.
Villagers stay overnight in camps in Lushan County, Ya'an City, southwest China's Sichuan Province, April 20 A 7-magnitude earthquake hit the county at 8:02 a.m. Saturday Beijing Time, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC). [Photo/Xinhua]
Zhao made the remarks in quake-hit Ya'an while responding to concerns over the fairness of their fundraising campaigns and distribution, largely stemming from a 2011 scandal.
That year, a young woman named "Guo Meimei" claiming to work for an organization under the RCSC flaunted her lavish lifestyle on her micro blog, prompting the public to question whether the organization's funds had been embezzled or misused.
"We fully understand and respect public opinion and will timely publicize information and strengthen social communication to improve public understanding," Zhao said.
Regarding the China Red Cross quake relief work already under way in Sichuan, she said: "We have great confidence in our relief work thanks to donations from individual and enterprises."
On Saturday, the society published ways to make donations, including via the postal service, Internet and telephone, to help with the relief work for Ya'an, which was hit by a magtitude-7 earthquake early on Saturday.
As of Sunday, the society had received more than 13 million yuan ($2.06 million) in public donations, according to a press release.
Also, local branches of the national society have transferred funds and materials worth more than 13.9 million yuan for the quake-hit areas, it said.
Meanwhile, international Red Cross organizations expressed concerns and offered to help with disaster relief.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Saturday that it has been communicating with the Red Cross Society of China to determine if international support is needed for the Sichuan earthquake.
Wang Haijing, vice-president of the society, said that it will keep distributing tents, water, food, quilts and clothes to people affected by the earthquake.
As of Sunday, more than 1,000 tents have been sent to Ya'an along with other relief materials.
"Our on-site workers have been busy assessing the needs from the affected people and sending Red Cross teams to help satisfy the needs," he said at a media briefing on Sunday.
Currently, the teams dispatched include those specializing in search and rescue and public and mental health services, he said.
The first Red Cross volunteer team from the provincial capital Chengdu arrived with food, water and medicines supplies and rescue equipment, Wang said.
Other Red Cross teams from Chongqing, Guizhou, Shandong, Guangzhou branches as well as China's Hong Kong and Macao Red Cross teams are preparing to deploy.