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China announces more assistance to Haiti

A senior Chinese diplomat announced on Thursday that China has decided to contribute an additional $2.6 million in cash to quake-hit Haiti and send a 40-member medical care and epidemic prevention team to the Caribbean country.

The announcement came as Liu Zhenmin, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, was taking the floor at the second briefing/pledging conference of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for Earthquake in Haiti, which opened here on Thursday afternoon.

A strong earthquake on Jan. 12 has left many people dead, including 61 UN staff members working in the island country, and a lot of buildings damaged or destroyed.

Special coverage: Major Earthquake Hits Haiti Related readings: Haiti's mass graves swell; doctors fear more death Four more Chinese peacekeepers leave for Haiti China says rescue efforts in Haiti know no national boundaries China willing to send more peacekeepers to Haiti Chaos hampers Haiti relief "At today's meeting, I am honored to announce that the Chinese government has decided to contribute an additional $2.6 million in cash to Haiti, send a 40-member medical care and epidemic prevention team to Haiti and provide additional medicine and medical equipment to the country," Liu said.

"We support the United Nations in playing an important coordinating role in disaster relief and reconstruction in Haiti," he said. "We hope that the Haitian people, with the help of the international community, will overcome the difficulties, rebuild their homes and achieve self-reliance at an early date."

The new Chinese contribution follows a Jan. 13 decision of the Red Society of China to donate $1 million in cash to Haiti, he said. "On Jan. 15, the Chinese government announced its decision to provide 30 million yuan ($4.4 million) worth of humanitarian emergency supplies to Haiti."

The first charter plane loaded with these supplies arrived in Haiti on Jan. 17, bringing to the local people medicine, tents, portable emergency lights, water purification equipment, food, drinking water and clothes, he said. "The second plane, which was delayed due to limited capacity of the Haitian airport, will arrive on Jan. 26."

Since Jan. 13, the 60-member emergency rescue team sent by the Chinese government has fully engaged in disaster relief in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, he said. "The team has carried out effective search and rescue operations at the headquarters of MINUSTAH (the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti), the prime minister's palace and other places, with a number of bodies found, including those of Special Representative Hedi Annabi of MINUSTAH and other UN staff."

"The medical team of the Chinese rescue team are providing medical support for several hundred local people everyday," he said. "At this very moment, the Chinese international rescue team is still working at this forefront of disaster relief in Haiti and doing its utmost to help more people affected by the earthquake."

Since the earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12, the international community has worked in solidarity to offer a helping hand to the Haitian people and government, he said. "At present, disaster relief in Haiti is in full swing."

"The Chinese government highly commends the timely and effective assistance provided to Haiti by the United Nations, which has won the wide acclaim of the international community and laid a good foundation for the next phase of reconstruction efforts," he said.