Nine Russian Air Force transport planes carrying more than 250 tons relief materials took off on Saturday for China's earthquake-affected areas.
Eight Il-76 transport planes took off from Russia's Siberian region with 300 tents, more than 3,000 clothes and other items onboard. The planes were also carrying Russian disaster relief experts, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.
Another An-124 plane, carrying 23 field kitchens, 30 large army tents and 3,000 blankets, took off from an airport near Moscow on Saturday afternoon.
The goods were part of additional Russian aid to China. A total of 12 flights are scheduled to deliver more aid cargo to China, where a massive earthquake has claimed more than 60,000 lives, local media reported on Saturday.
The transport planes will send mobile kitchens, tents, blankets, food and medicine to southwest China's Sichuan province that was jolted by an 8.0-magnitude earthquake on May 12, Itar-Tass cited Russian Air Force commander's aide Alexander Drobyshevsky as saying.
Russia has so far delivered more than 120 tons of emergency aid, a rescue team and a mobile hospital with staff to Sichuan.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who ordered an increase in aid to China, is in Beijing for his first foreign visit outside the former Soviet countries since he took office on May 7.
"I would like to tell you that, according to my instructions, a new group of planes carrying humanitarian aid, including tents, is to fly to China," Medvedev was quoted as saying during his meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2008)