Int'l community concerned about earthquake relief efforts

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The international community has lent a helping hand to the earthquake relief efforts in China, pouring in aid and support to the quake-hit zone.

At 7:49 a.m. local time (2349 GMT) on April 14, a violent earthquake shattered the peacefulness of Yushu county in northwest China's Qinghai Province, killing over 2,000 people and demolishing houses into ruins.

Since the moment when the quake struck, the Chinese people have been mobilized to join the relief efforts and have pledged their unreserved support to the quake-affected compatriots. And since then, the remote area in northwestern China has become a deep concern of the whole world.

Aid and condolences came from foreign state and government leaders and international organizations. The Chinese who live oversease including diplomats, students and even emigrants launched fund-raising drives for those affected while mourning the dead.

The mainstream world media devoted a great deal of space to cover the Qinghai earthquake and praised the speedy responce of the Chinese government to the earthquake and the high efficiency of the relief efforts.


April 21, seven days after the Qinghai earthquake, was declared by the Chinese State Council a National Day of Mourning.

The Chinese flag was lowered to half mast in the Chinese mailand, in Hong Kong and Macao regions, and in all the Chinese embassies and consulates across the world. Some foreign embassies in China also lowered their national flags to express condolences for the 2,064 people killed in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake.

From the Chinese state and government leaders to the grassroots, all the people paid tribute with three minutes of silence as sirens and horns wailed in grief to commemorate the dead.

The Chinese embassy in Pakistan received a special mourner Wednesday.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari took time from his busy schedule to attend the ceremony of remembrance in the Chinese embassy after learning that April 21 was China's national mourning day.

In grey suits, President Zardari paid a one-minute silent tribute to the quake victims.

In the condolence book, he wrote: "The Pakistani people express profound condolence to the victims killed in the Qinghai earthquake on April 14. The pain of the Chinese people is that of the Pakistanis. We firmly believe that the tenacious and united Chinese people will conquer the disaster and rebuild their hometown soon under the strong leadership of the Chinese government."

Many other foreign leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, also conveyed their solace to the quake victims.

U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton said in a statement released by the State Department that "On behalf of the American people, I offer sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this morning's earthquake in China's Qinghai Province. Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured or displaced, and all the people of China on this difficult day. The United States stands ready to assist."

After the Qinghai earthquake took place, Chinese President Hu Jintao cut short his trip to Brazil where a BRIC summit was being held. The decision got full understanding of the Russian, Brazilian and Indian leaders.

President Hu meanwhile postponed trips to Venezuela and Chile after talking through telephone with the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and getting their support.

By 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, a total of 148 countries and 34 international and regional groups had sent condolences to the Chinese government and people through different channels. Japan, South Korea, France, the United States, Norway, Thailand, New Zealand, Mongolia among other countries have granted aid of some 4 million U.S. dollars to the Chinese side.

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