A train and four container trucks fully loaded with winter wear, quilts and other articles left Beijing Friday for the country's various disaster-hit areas, in the hope of bringing warmth to the poor and the afflicted people.
The relief materials, 496,731 pieces in all, were donated by staff with the central authorities and army headquarters, who also donated more than 38 million yuan (US$4.69 million).
All the materials and money are expected to reach the hands of disaster victims before December 30, a task of the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
As cold weather has set in, China started a new round of "sending warmth and love" drive. Members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the central authorities have been asked by General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Hu Jintao to take the lead in making donations.
"In this activity, we should live up to our fundamental principle of serving the people whole-heartedly and carrying out the traditional virtue of the Chinese nation to help those in need," Hu said in his instructions.
He said the activity also constitutes a concrete action to promote harmony in society.
According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, more than 72.5 million people need grain aid, more than 21.5 million need clothing and quilts aid and more than 5 million need aid to treat their injuries or diseases this winter.
The relief materials are directed at seven provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, including Hebei, Guangxi, Chongqing and Guizhou.
The donated money is to be distributed to 23 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, including Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang.
At the call of Hu, the whole nation has been activated to make donations.
People are seen queuing up in long lines in many places, including Beijing, Shaanxi and Shanxi, to hand over their surplus winter wear, quilts and other articles to the donation collectors.
(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2005)