Quake-stricken China welcomes EU offer of help
Following China's acceptance of help, EU officials will proceed to assist Chinese authorities in providing relief aid.13 May 2008
BRUSSELS - China has welcomed humanitarian help offered by the European Union in assisting Chinese authorities cope with the consequences of its devastating earthquake, officials in Brussels said Tuesday.
"China has indicated that it welcomes (EU) relief contributions, and we are now proceeding to examine the kind of assistance needed," said John Clancy, a spokesman for the EU executive, the European Commission.
Clancy said relief efforts faced serious problems accessing the area around the quake's epicentre. And in those areas that have been reached, the focus is "very much on search and rescue", he said.
An EU expert was on his way to China to assess the humanitarian situation together with UN agencies and the International Red Cross.
In a message to Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, the head of the commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, conveyed Europe's condolences to relatives of the victims of the disaster.
"The EU is ready to support Wen in his work in whatever way it can," Barroso said.
A quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck South-Western China on Monday, killing some 12,000 people, displacing tens of thousands of others and causing widespread damage.
EU government ministers were expected to discuss how to help China during a meeting in Brussels later on Tuesday that was originally called to address Europe's response to the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Myanmar.
Unlike the Chinese government, the Myanmar regime has been much more reluctant to accept foreign help in dealing with the effects of its cyclone.
[dpa / Expatica]