Chinese rescue team arrives in Haiti

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A Chinese emergency rescue team arrived in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince early Thursday local time, to help the rescue operation after an earthquake in which up to 100,000 people are feared dead and eight Chinese are still missing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told a regular press briefing four of the missing Chinese were peace-keepers while the other four were from a six-member working group of the Ministry of the Public Security.

The eight Chinese were holding peacekeeping consultations with U.N. staff in the headquarters of the UN Stabilization Mission in Port-au-Prince when the quake occured, according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Security.

Other Chinese in Haiti including more than 130 peacekeepers and those working for China's trade office, enterprises and other organizations in Haiti, were safe, said Jiang.

The Chinese peacekeeping unit has mobilized 53 police peacekeepers and more than 400 local people to search for the missings before the rescue team arrived.

One armored vehicle, three off-road vehicles as well as one minibus have been sent to the collapse venue.

International rescue teams from the United States, Iceland and Puerto Rico have also arrived in Haiti to join the rescue effort at the UN building. Heavy excavating equipment have been put in use to search for the missings.

To date, China had sent a total of 142 police peacekeepers to Haiti.

Since a 24-hour hotline was launched immediately after the quake by the Center for Consular Assistance and Protection under China's Foreign Ministry, it had taken more than 300 inquiries, said the spokesperson.

"We will closely follow the disaster and aid information, and try our best to offer assistance to overseas Chinese in Haiti," said Jiang.

The Chinese rescue team of more than 60 people left Beijing Wednesday evening along with 10 tons of food, equipment and medicines. China's Red Cross Society has pledged 1 million dollars in emergency aid.

Haitian President Rene Preval on Wednesday pleaded for assistance after Tuesday's devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake, which brought about an "unbelievable catastrophe."

The headquarters of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and other UN buildings in Port-au-Prince collapsed in the quake, and around 150 UN workers are buried under debris.


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