Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-05-21-Speech-3-332"

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"We are following with great concern developments in China following the disastrous earthquake, which destroyed a large area of the country, and the Province of Sichuan in particular. There are estimates that the earthquake affected around 10 million people. The death toll is growing by the hour, whilst the hope of rescuing the survivors from under the rubble is ebbing away. The current estimate of fatalities has grown to almost 50 000 people. This truly is a disaster. Perhaps it would be possible to save more lives if the rescuers could reach the affected area, but they are prevented by objective difficulties, as well as due to a shortage of adequate equipment. An additional difficulty is the damage that the earthquake has caused to a number of dams. Because of that, survivors in the Sichuan Province are under a great threat of being flooded. The Chinese government has asked for the basic equipment they need during the rescue operations. The Chinese Health Ministry also expects a greater need for medication and up-to-date medical equipment, because the survivors need to be provided with the necessary treatment for injuries. The scope of aid activities currently under way is exceptionally large. Twelve tonnes of goods have already been dropped from the air to alleviate the difficulties in the affected area. Numerous helicopters are flying in rescuers and help. Representatives of the local authorities stated that at this point they mostly need blankets, tents, food and satellite telephones. As you know, and as has already been mentioned earlier today, last Tuesday the Council convened an extraordinary Council meeting. We have extended our deepest condolences to the Chinese people for the terrible numbers of fatalities and destruction in this area. In our message we also expressed our deepest sympathy with those who have lost their closest relatives in this disaster, to those who have been injured themselves, or those who suffered serious damage to property. The international community has responded quickly, and has offered to provide China with assistance. China has officially welcomed this in letters dispatched by the Foreign Trade Ministry. Numerous foreign teams including those from Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Australia are already there, or are about to set out for China. The European Union wishes to provide the affected population with help. The European Commission, as well as most of the Member States, has massively responded to the needs of the affected population, and are prepared to provide help also in the future. Thank you."@en1

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