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International relief aid keeps pouring in
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It looked just like a small marketplace in Islamabad - about a dozen booths selling Pakistani snacks, beverages and handicrafts.

Instead, it was a bazaar on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Beijing.

The Pakistani embassy in the Chinese capital was hosting guests and visitors from the Pakistani community and Chinese Foreign Ministry officials and diplomats from other embassies to support relief efforts for victims of the May 12 quake.

Up to 700 people took part in the charity bazaar, embassy officials estimated.

"The earthquake is terrible, but it is wonderful to see that people across the country have responded with love and care," said Maryam Zaman, a Pakistani embassy staffer.

Pakistan has provided 22,260 tents, a mobile field hospital and relief supplies to quake-hit areas. A Pakistani medical team has also been deployed for relief work.

By last Friday, 20 Asian governments had donated 46 million yuan ($6.6 million) in cash and 106 million yuan worth of relief supplies to China. Private donations came up to 423 million yuan in cash, and 17 million yuan worth of materials.

The second day after the earthquake, the Japanese government announced it would give $5 million aid to China, adding another $5 million later. Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda was the first foreign leader who gave his condolences for the earthquake, while Japanese rescuers formed the first foreign rescue team to arrive in Sichuan.

In Seoul, Republic of Korea Prime Minister Han Seung-soo organized joint meetings between the government and civil groups, and decided to collect $30 million in donations for China. President Lee Myung-bak also flew to Chengdu last Friday during his visit to China to deliver his condolences to quake victims.

In Vientiane, Lao's ruling People's Revolution Party, then on its central committee plenary session, decided to offer 10 million cu m of wood to support the reconstruction of quake-hit regions.

Similarly, Afghan ambassador to China Ahmad Eklil Hakimi called the Chinese Foreign Ministry, saying that all diplomats in the Afghan embassy were willing to donate blood.

In addition to government efforts, people in many Asian countries have showed support for the quake victims.

Singapore has become the largest source of private donations in Asia, with more than one million private donations given to aid quake victims by last Friday.

In Japan, people from all walks of life went to the Chinese embassy in Tokyo to deliver their contributions. Private donations from Japan had exceeded $12 million by last Friday.

(China Daily June 2, 2008)

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