Chinese Rescue Team Reaches Pakistan

Chinese Rescue Team Reaches Pakistan

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A chartered aircraft carrying a 55-member Chinese international rescue team, along with their relief aid, arrived at Islamabad on Thursday to help the victims of one of Pakistan's worst natural disasters in recent memory.

Zhang Liyan, the deputy director of the Armed Police General Hospital and the deputy head of the rescue team, said her unit had a record number of 15 female members, 14 of whom are medical workers.

She noted that, among the members of the experienced team, were veterans of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, while others had participated in the disaster relief work following the devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.

In addition, "given the sensibilities of Pakistan's Islamic society, we purposely selected more female medical staff to provide special care for local women and children," she said.

She emphasized that, among the 55 rescue workers, 36 medical staff specialized in 19 different fields of medical care - ranging from infectious diseases and skin disorders to gynecological and pediatric illnesses.

Xinhua quoted Huang Jianfa, the head of the rescue team as saying the relief work would focus mainly on medical assistance, and that the team would set up a field hospital in the flood-hit area, thus enabling doctors to perform emergency operations.

The team also brought with them more than 100 types of relief materiel and equipment as well as over 1,500 kinds of medicine - in all, worth more than eight million yuan ($1.2 million) to fight against acute diarrhea and respiratory tract infections.

The rescue team is expected to remain in the worst parts of Pakistan for three weeks, but Huang added that the exact date would be based on the situation on the ground.

Since Pakistan is China's "all-weather friend", Beijing was the first nation to offer aid - despite the fact that China itself is suffering from its own share of disasters.

On Wednesday, Beijing announced that it would offer Pakistan the third round of disaster relief materiel worth of 60 million yuan ($8.8 million).

Donations by the People's Liberation Army - including tents, generators and dredgers - also arrived on Wednesday, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu.

On Wednesday, the Pakistani ambassador to China, Masood Khan, expressed gratitude for China's concrete assistance.

The envoy said it has been difficult for relief workers to access the disaster-hit area, a factor that has only enhanced the needs of the victims.

"In this context, I would like to thank China's assistance because you are providing food, shelter and medicines to save our people's lives," he said.

Yu Yingfu, deputy director of the Department of Aid to Foreign Countries with the Ministry of Commerce, told reporters earlier that an investigation team would also be sent to Pakistan to find out the most effective ways to rebuild the flood-affected area.

"It is part of our effort to help Pakistan to reconstruct. It proves that China is doing all we can and we will continue to do so," he added.

Wang Chengyan contributed to the story.