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Beijing Emergency Medical Team Heads for Sri Lanka

A team of 14 doctors sent by China left Beijing Sunday noon for Sri Lanka to offer medical aid for the tsunami victims there.


The team is the third one sent by China after two medical teams from Shanghai and Guangdong, according to Beijing Municipal Health Department.


The team is composed of medical workers from Beijing Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Beijing Friendship Hospital, including experts on epidemics, internal medicine and orthopaedics.


Some have participated in international medical aid teams in Africa and some have had experience in fighting severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.


"We will work hard to relieve pains of the tsunami-hit victims and extend Beijing people's care for them," said Wang Bingqiang, an expert of orthopaedics and head of the medical team.


They have been equipped with sufficient medicines and medical appliances to provide medical service on arrival, said Jin Dapeng, director of Beijing Municipal Health Bureau.


The medical team left Beijing at around 1:00 PM., and is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka Sunday night.


Another medical team is expected to leave Beijing two days later, according to Beijing Municipal Health Bureau.


Members of the Support Team sent  by the Hong Kong government to Thailand are mobilized to various parts of Phuket to assist Hong Kong residents affected by the tsunami, a government spokesman said Sunday.


"The team maintains its presence in six major hospitals on the Phuket Island and visited hospital and rescue centers in Krabi, a major tourist spot," said Linda So, the coordinator of the Support Team.


"The team also visited a major resort in Khao Lak which was hard hit by the tsunami," she said.


A multi-disciplinary team comprising members of the Hong Kong Police Force, the Immigration Department as well as medical experts departed for places where the injured were treated in Krabi.


Over 40 police officers visited a major hotel resort in Khao Lak to try to find traces of Hong Kong residents. They were able to recover identity documents of some Hong Kong residents there.


The police would use the latest information to try to locate the residents concerned. Their families would be informed of the latest progress, said Linda So.


To enhance publicity of the team's presence to help Hong Kong residents, the Civil Aid Service posted notices at the Phuket International Airport and around the city to publicize the hotlines and to appeal to Hong Kong residents to come forward for assistance.


The Thai authorities announced Saturday that they would take DNA samples from the deceased and to set up a DNA database. Blood relatives of persons may give DNA samples for matching. In the light of the plan announced by the Thai authorities, the Hong Kong government would take corresponding measures to help Hong Kong family to give their DNA samples.


Linda So appealed to Hong Kong residents not to travel to Thailand solely for the purpose of giving their DNA samples to theThai authorities. She said the Hong Kong government would work out appropriate measures the details of which will be announced in due course.


The latest number of Hong Kong residents reported to have lost contact with their families stands at 74 in Thailand, as compared to 113 Saturday.


On Jan. 1, two more Hong Kong residents were confirmed to have deceased in Phuket, thus making the number of fatality to four in total.


A Hong Kong girl was found to be in critical condition in a hospital in Phuket. One Hong Kong patient in a Bangkok hospital is expected to be transferred back to Hong Kong soon.


(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2005)


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