Two aid teams from Singapore deployed in quake-hit Sichuan

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Two small teams from Singapore- based Mercy Relief have been deployed to China's quake-hit province of Sichuan in response to a direct request for help from provincial authorities, the aid organization said on Tuesday.

The first team comprising three people was deployed to Sichuan on Sunday night after the group received a direct request for international humanitarian assistance by the Sichuan Province Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (SFPA) late Sunday afternoon.

The team headed towards Lushan, a hard-hit county, after locally procuring the first tranche of necessary relief supplies comprising blankets, milk and hygiene essentials including baby diapers and sanitary napkins.

A second response team from Mercy Relief arrived the provincial capital of Chengdu on Monday afternoon to support the coordination of more relief supplies to the hard-hit county of Baoxing, located more than 200 km away from Chengdu. The total value of the relief supplies is worth 250,000 yuan (40,000 U.S. dollars).

Tsai Pi Kuang, the group's senior program manager for China, said from Lushan county that Mercy Relief has been continuously implementing relief and development projects in Sichuan province since the Wenchuan earthquake of 2008.

"Whilst all of our projects are safe from the latest quake, the devastation at Lushan and Baoxing is quite widespread where close to 180,000 are currently displaced, with limited shelter, water and food," he said.

Tsai said it is critical that aid is extended early across all groups of victims, particularly amongst the most vulnerable, children, women and the elderly.

The survivors are susceptible to being exposed to the natural elements and hazards including mudslides, landslides and epidemics as pouring rains are expected to continue over the next few days, he added. Enditem

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