A fourth Russian Emergencies Ministry aircraft took off from Moscow on Friday evening, carrying humanitarian aid to China, where a devastating earthquake has claimed over 20,000 lives in its southwestern Sichuan province.
The plane took off from the Ramenskoye airfield outside Moscow at 7:40 p.m. Moscow time (1540 GMT).
"The plane is carrying 30 tons of humanitarian cargo, such as tents and blankets," an Emergencies Ministry spokesperson was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
Russia delivered its first batch of 30 tons of humanitarian aid to the quake-hit areas Tuesday night, and the second batch was sent to China Wednesday. An Il-76 transport aircraft carrying 49 Russian specialists flew out from the Ramenskoye airfield to China this morning.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has sent a message of solace to Chinese President Hu Jintao over the disastrous earthquake.
More than 50,000 people are feared dead in Sichuan province alone after Monday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake, the rescue headquarters of the State Council of China said Thursday.
(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2008)