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HK offers $1.03 mln relief fund to the mainland
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Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government approved on Friday a grant of 8 million HK dollars (1.03 million U.S. dollars) from the Disaster Relief Fund for the Hong Kong Red Cross to provide emergency relief to snowstorm victims in the Chinese mainland.

The approval was followed by the advice from the Disaster Relief Fund Advisory Committee, a HKSAR government spokesman said.

"The committee hoped that the Hong Kong Red Cross would help provide timely relief to snowstorm victims," he said.

To ensure that the money will be used for the designated purposes, the Hong Kong Red Cross was required to submit an evaluation report and audited accounts on the use of the grant after the relief work had been completed.

"Upon receipt of other applications for the snowstorm victims in the Chinese mainland, the Committee will process them as expeditiously as possible," the government spokesman added.

The Disaster Relief Fund Advisory Committee is responsible for advising the HKSAR government on policy and practices regarding the disbursement of funding for disaster relief from the Disaster Relief Fund, which was established in December 1993 for emergency disaster relief in places outside Hong Kong, as well as advising on specific amounts to specific recipients, and monitoring the use of grants.

Some Hong Kong charity groups and organizations on Friday allocated relief funds to the snow-hit areas in the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce donated 500,000 HK dollars (about 64,193 U.S. dollars) to snow-hit areas in the central and south China. The chamber also urged factory owners on the Chinese mainland to provide accommodation and food to stranded workers.

Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions on Friday also donate 100, 000 HK dollars (about 12,839 U.S. dollars) through the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in HKSAR, to help those affected by the snowstorm.

The snow, the heaviest in decades in many places, has been falling in east, central and south China for more than a fortnight. It has caused deaths, structural collapses, blackouts, highway closures and crop destruction.

(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)

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