Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-05-21-Speech-3-333"

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". − Madam President, I also wish to thank you for placing a debate on the agenda on the humanitarian situation in the Chinese province of Sichuan following the earthquake on 12 May. President Barroso, Mrs Ferrero-Waldner and I have expressed our condolences and stressed the desire of the European people to help the Chinese people. Mobilisation by the Chinese authorities and the army in particular was swift and large-scale. It must be said that the crisis management was efficient, and the authorities deserve our congratulations. In view of the extent of the damage and its needs, the Chinese Government appealed for international assistance on 13 May and the EU was quick to respond to the call. The Commission sent an ECHO humanitarian aid expert on a one-week mission to the area affected. Following a report by the expert on 16 May, the Commission adopted an emergency relief decision to disburse two million euros. This will allow the Red Cross to supply tents, blankets, drinking water and basic essentials. The coordination and assessment team of the Commission’s civil protection mechanism is also at Chengdu. It is in contact with the local authorities to bring in European aid more rapidly for those in need. The Member States also responded swiftly to the emergency call from the Red Cross Federation by sending emergency equipment and providing search and rescue teams. The total EU contribution is already over ten million euros. The European Commission, the Monitoring Information Centre and the Crisis Platform are working together and are keeping the Member States and China up to date with EU assistance. It should be noted that the Chinese authorities exercise strict control over local access permits for international teams. On the basis of our evaluations, the main needs are water and sanitation, temporary shelters, essential products, medicines and medical equipment. Many major after-shocks are hampering rescue operations, unfortunately. The main concern is that vital infrastructure such as dams, dykes or electrical power stations will break down or collapse, thereby creating a second humanitarian disaster."@en1

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