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Lebanese Official Appreciates China's Aid to Displaced Lebanese
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The Lebanese government has appreciated China for its generous aid to Lebanon in the country's difficult time, Secretary General of Lebanon's High Relief Committee (HRC) Yahaya Raad told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Raad said that the Chinese government and people have lent a helping hand to the Lebanese, "We, Lebanese, sincerely thank the Chinese government and people for their timely help."

China's aid largely encouraged and supported the Lebanese people, he said.

China had sent 150 tons of aid valued at US$2.5 million to Lebanon, including tents, generators, medical instruments, medicines, blankets and sheets, since the eruption of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict on July 12.

According to Raad, a total of 40 countries and regions have sent aid to Lebanon. Up to date, 6,000 tons of food and 4,000 tents have been distributed to 300,000 displaced people across Lebanon.

He also thanked the International Federation of Red Cross, the United Nations and some non-governmental organizations for their all-out efforts in assisting Lebanese refugees.

But he expressed anxiety in helping refugees return home after a ceasefire took effect on Monday, as some of the displaced were homeless due to destruction of their houses by Israeli missiles.

He said that his committee would set up camps for those homeless refugees and offer them food, water and other necessities.

Condemning Israel's constant blockade on Lebanese ports, Raad said that the blockade largely hindered the already slow transfer of aid, which was caused by weak traffic in Lebanon due to broken bridges and roads.

He said that a sea, ground and air blockade imposed by Israel on Lebanon had caused severe shortage of food and drinking water.

"Israel has deprived the Lebanese people of basic rights of life and health, which is against humanitarianism," he said.

He also condemned Israel's bombardment on Lebanon's civil infrastructure, especially power stations, saying that many key sectors, including hospitals, were plagued by frequent blackout.

The 34-day conflict between Israel and Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah claimed lives of some 1,200 Lebanese and wounded 4,600, Raad said, adding the number is expected to climb in the coming days following clearance of ruins and rubbles.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2006)

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