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China open to foreign assistance in disaster relief
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The Red Cross Societies in Austria, Spain, Britain and Denmark will be in charge of forming the units.

Austrian and Spanish units would bring water-purification facilities, the British unit would offer medical services and help build public toilets while the Danes would help set up working and residence camps for relief workers.

Two had arrived and the rest were on the way, the RCSC source said.

The IFRC was also collecting 100,000 tents across the world for China quake survivors, about 16,900 of which had reached Sichuan, the source said.

Meanwhile, Wang Zhenyao, director of disaster relief with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, denied at the same press conference that the RCSC was the only organization to handle foreign donated relief materials.

Other public offering foundations, such as the China Charity Federation and local government departments, were also qualified to receive foreign donations, he said, adding some foreign non-governmental organizations (NGO) were implementing their own relief projects in the quake areas.

"I have seen many volunteers and international groups (doing relief work in quake areas). For example, a Canadian organization was working in a temporary shelter camp in Mianzhu. They went there alone instead of working with the RCSC."

Many channels, not only the RCSC, were available for domestic and foreign donors, said Wang, but he did not elaborate what the channels were.

Quite a number of Chinese NGOs, enterprises, websites and volunteer groups had organized their own relief programs.

Several NGOs in Chengdu, the Sichuan provincial capital, had founded a joint-relief program and more than 120 NGOs nationwide had joined its network.

(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2008)

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