China's aid to flooded Pakistan enhances bilateral friendship

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China has pledged a total of 250 million U.S. dollars in flood aid to Pakistan and sent rescue and medical teams to the worst-hit areas, and it will continue to support Pakistan's post-disaster reconstruction.

The worst floods in Pakistan's history hit one-fourth of the country in July and August, leading to huge losses in property and life.

China's aid has been highly praised, adding a new annotation to the deep traditional friendship between the two countries.

China was one of the first countries offering aid to Pakistan in the immediate aftermath of the historic floods in late July. The first batch of aid from the Chinese government, authorized on Aug. 1, was handed over to Pakistan on Aug. 4.

Social organizations, enterprises, individuals from China and the Chinese people in Pakistan have been giving a helping hand to the Pakistani people by making donations in cash or in kind.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced an additional assistance of 200 million U.S. dollars to flooded Pakistan at a UN summit in New York on Sept. 22, bring its total commitment to 250 million dollars, its largest-ever humanitarian aid to a foreign country.

According to the report "Damage and Need Assessment," jointly prepared by the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the floods that swept across Pakistan caused an estimated 9.7 billion dollars in damage to infrastructure, farms and homes, as well as other direct and indirect losses.

During the critical time, China, in accordance with the Pakistan's needs, provided unconditional aid to the country to help its flood rescue, relief and reconstruction efforts.

China sent two international search and rescue teams to the worst-hit Thatta district in southern Sindh province, and the Chinese army sent a 68-member medical team to Sehwan of Sindh and a 64-member rescue team with four helicopters to Hyderabad.

The Chinese embassy in Islamabad said it was the biggest deployment of Chinese rescue and medical teams in history and the first time Chinese military helicopters carried out an overseas humanitarian rescue and relief mission.

It is also the first time China had sent a large amount of aid to the neighbor via a land route, with 101 Chinese trucks reaching Sust Dry Port via Khunjerab Pass on Sept. 1, loaded with daily necessities including flour and oil for the stranded people in Hunza area, north Pakistan.

During their stay in Pakistan, the Chinese teams braved abominable working and living conditions. They demonstrated love, compassion, professionalism and responsibility, treating hundreds of patients everyday.

"Pakistan suffered devastating floods this year. The Chinese people sympathized with the Pakistani people and provided substantial aid as soon as it could to help in disaster relief efforts and reconstruction," Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said Monday during a press briefing ahead of Premier Wen Jiabao's official visit to Pakistan from Dec. 17 to 19.

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