Chinese in quake-hit Sichuan make donations to Haiti

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Still recovering from the pain left by a catastrophic earthquake in 2008, people in southwest China's Sichuan Province now act swiftly to support quake-hit Haiti through donation and a candlelight vigil.

About 160,000 yuan (US$23,400) have been donated throughout the province since Sichuan's charity groups called for emergent aid to Haiti that was ravaged by a powerful quake a week ago.

"I have been hoping to do something for the Haiti people as soon as I learned that the country was hit by a quake," said a 76-year-old lady in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan.

The lady, surnamed Liu, donated 1,000 yuan (US$147), her monthly retirement pension, at the Chengdu Charity Federation on Monday.

"I hope all citizens in the city can do their bit to help the Haiti people," she added.

More than 50,000 people were believed to have died in the 7.3-magnitude quake that struck the island country on January 12. Haitian officials said it was the strongest earthquake to hit the country in more than 200 years.

Eight Chinese peacekeeping police officers also died in the quake.

"We received the first sum of money donated for Haiti on January 14, and since then, more and more citizens have come here for donations," said Zeng Zhiqian, of the Chengdu Charity Federation.

"Starting today, we prolong our working time by two hours. We will also work on weekends to receive donations," he said.

In Dujiangyan City, about 200 students and teachers at the Xiang'e Primary School held a candlelight vigil Monday evening, praying for the children in Haiti.

Sichuan is now recovering from the 8.0-magnitude quake on May 12, 2008, which left about 87,000 people dead or missing.

"The Haiti quake reminds me of the Wenchuan (in Sichuan) quake. We Sichuan people are beneficiaries of domestic and international assistance. Now it's time for us to give a hand to Haiti people," said Tan Yunjun, a staff of the Dongfang Turbine Co. Ltd. in Sichuan's Deyang City.

The company suffered severe losses in the Wenchuan quake, with building collapses and huge casualties.

The company held a donation ceremony on Monday, collecting more than 80,000 yuan from the staff in less than one hour. Zhang Zhiying, general manager of the company, said the company would contribute another 50,000 yuan.

"The Chinese nation has a fine tradition of being indebted to others, and every staff in our company is willing to show their love for Haiti people," said staff Chen Xin.

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