Chinese donate to quake-hit Haiti

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Staff of the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), the country's main disaster relief and charity agency, have received 5.67 million yuan (821,000 U.S. dollars) in donations for Haiti earthquake relief by Friday.

"We have received lots of phone calls every day (since the earthquake hit Haiti). Some inquire how to donate, some want to join quake relief volunteers in Haiti and others want to adopt children orphaned by the earthquake," said Wang Xiaohua, director of the RCSC Liaison Department.

The largest corporate donor was, a major online trading site, which donated 2 million yuan, and the largest donation from an individual was 50,000 yuan.

In Shuangliu county of Sichuan Province where the 8-magnitude earthquake claimed 69,000 lives in May 2008, Deng Maozhang, 75, handed 600 yuan from her pension money to a clerk at the local office of the Red Cross Society of China.

"When we suffered the earthquake, people across the world came to help us. It is the time that we contribute," she said.

In 2008, more than 170 countries and regions donated about 10.3 billion yuan to quake-hit regions in China.

The society received a donation of 1,319 yuan from 72 students at a school in Liangshan, Sichuan Province.

"Most of the students were from needy families and have received assistance from a non-governmental charity project. They saved money from the support they got and hoped to do something for the suffering people in Haiti," Wang said.

The society is only accepting cash donations.

"Haiti is very far from China. Due to transport problems, we do not take relief materials. The conditions are still not in place for Chinese people to work as volunteers or adopt orphans there," Wang said.

The People's Republic of China does not have diplomatic relations with the Caribbean country.

In response to an emergency campaign launched by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the RCSC had taken 500,000 dollars from the donations for rescue and relief work in Haiti on Thursday.

"We also plan to ship relief materials to Haiti from our reserve. We are discussing this issue with the Haiti side," Wang said.

The RCSC announced on Jan. 13 that it would donate 1 million yuan to Haiti.

The Chinese government announced that it would give relief materials worth 4.4 million dollars and 2.6 million dollars in funds.

A 60-member Chinese rescue team has been engaged in rescue and relief in Port-au-Prince since Jan. 14. A 40-member medical and epidemic prevention team will also be despatched.

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