Chinese rescue team ready to depart for Haiti

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A 50-member Chinese rescue team is ready to depart for quake-hit Haiti later Wednesday afternoon, hours after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake rattled the Caribbean country on Tuesday local time.

The team consist of search and rescue personnel, who have conducted many rescue tasks of this kind in the past years, and three sniffer dogs, Liu Xiangyang, deputy chief of the National Earthquake Disaster Emergency Rescue Team, told Xinhua at the Beijing Capital International Airport.

"Most of the members are very experienced," said Liu, waiting for the departure. The team will also take some food, equipment and medicine with them.

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, collapsing a hospital and damaging government buildings in its capital city of Port-au-Prince.

China has expressed its sympathy to Haiti over the major earthquake.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement on Wednesday that the Red Cross Society of China has decided to provide emergency aid for Haiti.

Chinese leaders are very concerned with the safety of Chinese nationals including peacekeepers, compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and overseas Chinese, and has made arrangements on taking rescue operation as soon as possible, said Jiang.

"We are in belief that the Haitian people, under the leadership of their government, will overcome difficulties and rebuild their homes at an early date with the help of the international community," said Jiang.

The Center for Consular Assistance and Protection under the Foreign Ministry will provide 24-hour consultation service, said Jiang.

China has no diplomatic ties with Haiti. Currently, 125 Chinese peace-keeping police are in Haiti.

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